Leave it to a university — a place of “higher learning” — to completely miss the point when it comes to paying tribute to anything outwardly American.
After receiving backlash, University of Virginia (UVA) President Jim Ryan wrote a Facebook post justifying the school’s decision to cancel the customary 21-gun salute on Veterans Day, partly because of “gun violence.”
Here's what Ryan wrote as the reasoning for cancelling the respectful tradition:
Related to this year’s ceremony, the Provost’s Office and Col. Michael Hough, commanding officer of UVA’s Air Force ROTC detachment, worked closely together in making the decision to eliminate the 21-gun salute for two 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.
Right, because I’m sure getting rid of the salute will prevent future shootings.
“I am very disillusioned, very upset, and very surprised that they would make such a decision,” veteran Jay Levine told WHSV.
The backlash against the decision has supposedly been so intense that Ryan said that UVA will revisit the reinstitution of the salute next year.
Ryan wrote the following in his conclusion:
That said, while Col. Hough and many members of our ROTC community supported the change this year, community responses have helped us to understand that many see the 21-gun salute as an important element of the Veterans Day ceremony at the University of Virginia. Given that the plans are already in place for this year, we will follow the event organizers’ recommendation to proceed without the 21-gun salute in our Veterans Day Ceremony. Following this year’s ceremony, however, we will work with our ROTC officers and cadets to take a closer look at options for our Veterans Day events, including those that would enable us to re-introduce the 21-gun salute to the program.
According to the Arlington National Cemetery website, the 21-gun salute is “the highest honor rendered” as a military salute and was adopted by the U.S. as its international salute in 1875.
Arlington National Cemetery also noted the following:
Today, the U.S. military fires a 21-gun salute in honor of a national flag, the sovereign or chief of state of a foreign nation, a member of a reigning royal family, and the president, ex-presidents and president-elect of the United States. The 21-gun salute is also fired at noon on George Washington's birthday, President's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, and the day of the funeral of a president, ex-president or president-elect.
Before going all “woke,” college administrators might want to recognize that respect doesn’t just apply to students and their apparent delicate sensibilities. Respect is earned, and our veterans have done just that in spades.
H/T: The College Fix