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The University of Virginia’s decade-long tradition of honoring our nation’s soliders on Veteran’s Day with a 21 gun salute has become the latest victim of so-called “cancel culture.”
After receiving concerns over the college’s use of firearms in the Veteran’s Day ceremony, the school’s president Jim Ryan decided to cancel the salute altogether to recognize “concerns related to firing weapons on the Grounds in light of gun violence that has happened across our nation, especially on school and university campuses.”
University President Ryan had this to say on Facebook about why the university cancelled the 21 gun salute:
However, veterans themselves weren't too happy with the decision:
Veteran Jay Levine commented on the decision,
“I am very disillusioned, very upset, and very surprised that they would make such a decision. Freedom isn’t free. There’s a cost and that cost is born by the veterans and the families of those veterans.”
Others took to Twitter to condemn the university's halt of the salute to veterans:
Local news source WHSV has more to say about the controversial decision by the University of Virginia to end their tradition of the Veteran's Day salute:
The University of Virginia is coming under fire over a decision to change a part of its annual Veterans Day ceremony.
The university will still hold a Veterans Day ceremony on Monday, but it will no longer include the 21-gun salute. It's a decision UVA leaders say will not change.
The Provost's office, in conjunction with the colonel of UVA's ROTC program, made the decision. The ceremony marks the conclusion of a 24-hour vigil by ROTC cadets and has included the 21-gun salute for more than a decade.
"One is that it would be disruptive to classes and two, unfortunately with gun violence in the U.S., there was some concern that we would cause a panic if someone heard gunshots on grounds," said UVA President Jim Ryan.
Veterans like Jay Levine are upset with the decision. Levine went through the ROTC program at UVA and says the 21-gun salute is the ultimate salute to those who have served and passed away.
Local Charlottesville newspaper The Daily Progess had some harsh words for the university over the decision:
The University of Virginia erred mightily when it decided to eliminate the ROTC’s traditional 21-gun salute, along with other changes, as part of its Veterans Day program.
The decision sends an insulting message to veterans and other patriots.
It also, ironically, sends an unfortunate message about students: That they are too fragile, too delicate, too distractible to deal with the “interruption” of the salute. That they are too insular, too wrapped up in their own worlds to comprehend and accept this longstanding practice. That they must be protected from the reality that exists outside academia.
The reality is that men and women have died, and others have suffered grievous injury, in order to ensure that students can freely study at this university and others, to ensure that faculty can freely teach.
The reality is that this nation has a long and respected tradition of honoring veterans in public displays, including the 21-gun salute, the highest of honors.
The reality is that UVa is out of step with many in this community, which it aspires to lead, by its decision to downplay the Veterans Day program.
Townhall also said:
The University of Virginia canceled the 21-gun salute portion of its annual Veterans Day ceremony – citing gun violence.
James Ryan, the university’s president, posted a statement on Facebook explaining that there were concerns about firing weapons on school property in light of recent school shootings.
He said there were two specific reasons.
"First, to minimize disruptions to classes, given that this event is located at the juncture of four primary academic buildings and is held at a time that classes are in session; and second, recognizing concerns related to firing weapons on the Grounds in light of gun violence that has happened across our nation, especially on school and university campuses," the president wrote.
As you might imagine – the outrage among veterans and military supporters has been severe.
"I am very disillusioned, very upset, and very surprised that they would make such a decision," veteran Jay Levine told television station WHSV.