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University of Virginia ends 21-gun salute for Veterans Day because 'panic' may result due to 'gun violence in the US'


The 21-gun salute also 'would be disruptive to classes,' school president said

Image source: WVIR-TV video screenshot

The University of Virginia has ended its 21-gun salute tradition for Veterans Day since a "panic" could result if students hear it due to "gun violence" in America, the school's president told WVIR-TV.

"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 some panic if someone heard gunshots on grounds," UVA President Jim Ryan noted to the station.

Image source: WVIR-TV video screenshot

The provost's office and the colonel of the school's ROTC program made the call, WVIR noted, adding that university officials said the decision will not change. The school still is holding a Veterans Day ceremony Monday, the station said.

Image source: WVIR-TV video screenshot

One veteran speaks out

Veteran Jay Levine — who went through the UVA ROTC program — told WVIR he's upset by the school's decision and said the 21-gun salute is the ultimate acknowledgment to deceased U.S. service members.

"I am very disillusioned, very upset, and very surprised that they would make such a decision," Levine told the station, adding that "freedom isn't free. There's a cost, and that cost is borne by the veterans and the families of those veterans."

Image source: WVIR-TV video screenshot

He added to WVIR that he will email his concerns to UVA and hopes to talk in a public setting to rally other vets to take action.

UVA spokesperson Brian Coy noted to the station that the school respects community concerns about the end of the 21-gun salute and will continue the dialogue; he added to WVIR that the school fully supports Veterans Day observances.

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