Administrators at the University of Virginia ignited a backlash this week when it announced that it is canceling its annual 21-gun salute, which had become a staple of the school’s Veterans Day events.
According to a local news report, the University of Virginia has canceled its annual 21-gun salute, a traditional military ceremony that honors veterans, over concerns that students would panic if they heard gunshots.
The 21-gun salute has taken place at the University of Virginia for over ten years. The salute traditionally signified the end of a 24-hour vigil by University of Virginia ROTC cadets. University of Virginia President Jim Ryan told reporters that there were multiple reasons to cancel the 21-gun salute.
“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,” Ryan said.
Veteran Jay Levine, who was once in the ROTC program at the University of Virginia, said that the decision to cancel the event was disappointing. “I am very disillusioned, very upset, and very surprised that they would make such a decision,” Levine said in a short comment.
“Freedom isn’t free,” Levine added. “There’s a cost and that cost is born by the veterans and the families of those veterans.”
The University of Virginia will still hold a ceremony on Veterans Day. The university will move ahead with their 24-hour vigil ceremony, which will begin on Monday afternoon and stretch into Tuesday, November 12.