This story began early this month when the University of Virginia decided to cancel their usual 21 gun salute to veterans on Veterans Day. Their reason was a concern that the sound of gunfire could induce “a panic” among students and create fears of gun violence on the campus. (No… really.) The ensuing backlash from veterans, alumni, law enforcement and current students was apparently more than the administration could weather. It was too late for this year’s observances, but University President Jim Ryan issued a statement, saying in part, that “sometimes you make mistakes.” The new policy is being dropped and the traditional salute will return next year. (NBC News)
Although motivated by good intentions, I believe we made a mistake this year in excluding the 21-gun salute from our Veterans Day ceremony. Having attended the ceremony, and having consulted with the Commander in charge, I am confident that we can accommodate a 21-gun salute, which had been a meaningful feature of the ceremony in years past. We will therefore reinstate the 21-gun salute next year, and we will make sure to minimize any disruptions to classes and communicate the details of the ceremony in advance.
Thanks to all who shared their views about this topic, and my sincere apologies to any who may have doubted our commitment to honoring our veterans, whom we hold in the highest esteem and who deserve our gratitude.
As far as I’m concerned, this still leaves us with a few unanswered questions. For example, how did the idea to ban the salute originate? Did President Ryan cook this up all on his own and just announce the decision? Not knowing much about him that’s impossible to say, but it sounds unlikely. Was he pressured by liberal groups on campus and basically pushed into making a more woke decision? He’s remained mum on the subject since then.