University of Virginia Eliminates 21-Gun Salute from Veteran’s Day Ceremony

University of Virginia President Jim Ryan explained the school’s reasoning in a Facebook post. (Photo: Jim Ryan Facebook)

The University of Virginia has eliminated the 21-gun salute from its Veteran’s Day ceremony after some expressed concern that the traditional sign of honor would disrupt classes and scare students.

University president Jim Ryan explained in a Facebook post that the Provost’s Office and Col. Michael Hough, commanding officer of UVA’s Air Force ROTC detachment, came to the decision 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,” Ryan wrote.

He argued that “the 21-gun salute is not a required, or even typical, part of Veteran’s Day ceremonies” and suggested that the practice is meant to honor “those who have lost their lives in service to our country.”

In fact, according to the Arlington National Cemetery’s website, the 21-gun salute is used by the United States to honor a wide variety of symbols and people, including the 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.

While it’s not officially prescribed for Veteran’s Day, it is also used on many national holidays that are not meant to honor fallen soldiers, including George Washington’s birthday, President’s Day, and Independence Day.

The University of Virginia has been firing a 21-gun salute at its Veteran’s Day ceremony for the last ten years.

Ryan refused to change the plans for this year’s proceedings, but said he might consider re-introducing the salute in future years.

SEE ALSO: NSSF: Firearms Industry Salutes America’s Veterans

Veterans and alumni expressed dismay at the university’s decision. Jay Levine, who went through the ROTC program at UVA, told WHSV that the 21-gun salute is the ultimate salute to those who have served and passed away.

“I am very disillusioned, very upset, and very surprised that they would make such a decision,” Levine said.

“Freedom isn’t free,” he continued. “There’s a cost and that cost is born by the veterans and the families of those veterans.”

Commenters under Ryan’s Facebook post also voiced their disapproval of the president’s decision.

One noted that school massacres have been a problem for many years and wondered at the university’s sudden reversal. Another pointed out that the entire ceremony takes less than one minute to complete and called it a “shame” if professors couldn’t pause classes during that time.

One of the most-liked comments explained that the 21-gun salute is a powerful memorial to those who serve to protect freedom.

The Arlington National Cemetery notes that the 21-gun salute is not to be confused with the three-volley salute (or three-rifle volley) rendered at military honors funerals.

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About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over six years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Tyler. Got a hot tip? Send him an email at

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  • Gene Harris July 4, 2020, 1:28 pm

    Another ignorant decision based on nothing but emotion and fear of a few people being noisy and stupid.

  • catawampus November 23, 2019, 1:28 pm

    I have a salute for Mr. Ryan, some people call it a New York salute.

  • Roger Mitchell November 17, 2019, 6:33 pm


  • Gunny8541 November 17, 2019, 6:27 pm

    What scared RAT sob that you are Mr Ryan, who could not or was not even willing to serve our Country. Its a slap in the face to our Great Proud Veterans who are all my brothers and sisters. To those who gave their lives, so you, Mr Ryan can have a job like you do and get paid like you do. If things keep going like they are your liberal ass might just be pulling duty in Iran, Russia, China. Then you’ll have a very different point of view and understand how veterans feel about a 21 gun salute. The scared and fearful little darling students CAN be warned of a 21 gun salute that takes literally less than 5 minutes. People like you make me sick of the way you think!!!!! No regard for anyone just your own spineless self

  • Gary Metzger November 15, 2019, 8:20 pm


    My father was a Army veteran of WWII and I’m a (72 yr old) two tour Marine Corp. Viet Nam Veteran!
    I noticed you didn’t “enlist” in any of the ARMED forces, I hope that didn’t scare your students, so you “don’t know, the feelings of a TRUE Patriot…a Veteran!
    I smell a under lying reason here that has fear of weapons…..hater.
    All of those classes could of had a posted early notice of said 21 gun salute….and ALL the Professors could have verbally instructed the students, prior to class starting, as well.
    You’re a embarassment to every veteran……..alive & deceased!
    Sleep well tonight ….. knowing you and your family are being protected by ……. Armed Warriors….who didn’t “avoid” patriotism!!

  • Smitty November 15, 2019, 2:59 pm

    People. It’s Virginia. A Blue Commonwealth. What did you expect?

  • Peter Wall November 15, 2019, 2:03 pm

    I’m appalled that a gun salute that has been used at military memorial services since the earliest days of our republic, would not be given. The reason is because a number of weak willed students would be upset by the noise of gunfire. The school is the University of Virginia, no less. The administration and facility who supported this action should be dismissed from the university. How little can our citizen’s support our military and veterans?

  • robert November 15, 2019, 2:00 pm

    Things seem to be getting a little too “woke” in Virginia these days. Ironic that recent attempts at dismantling the Constitution should be going ahead full steam in the place where brilliant, considerate thinkers like Thomas Jefferson helped to fashion the country that would be founded on the unalienable principles of that document. It should go without saying that there was nothing flawed in his thinking. The flaw lies in this culture itself, for allowing generations of its inhabitants to grow up significantly ignorant—of world history, and how that came to inform the formation of this republic; and of the price of freedom. Too many have died to uphold our way of life. To celebrate their lives, contributions, and sacrifices with anything less than our full honour and respect would be shameful. And anyone who suggests taking such a course doesn’t deserve citizenship, frankly. Don’t get me wrong—I’m a staunch advocate of free speech, as I am of the second and every other amendment to the Constitution. But it’s one thing to have civil discussions/arguments about our beliefs, and quite another to blatantly choose to disregard accepted values, rituals, and social norms. As a model of how not to behave, Jim Ryan should be uncategorically ousted from his position.

  • Logan November 15, 2019, 1:28 pm

    Welcome to the new America, where everything is PC!
    We wouldn’t want to offend all the bunny huggers, tree huggers, and anti gun crowds. As for gun violence on university campuses? I say to them, this wouldn’t happen if you let students carry concealed on school property. There was a time when gun safety was taught at school and there was actual target practice in the schools! The only reason these shootings take place at schools is because they know they have no defense and it’s a gun free zone. It would be an entirely different story if you can go armed to these places.
    This land was bought with blood and guns. If this offends you, you need to find a different country to live in!!

  • Godfrey Daniel November 15, 2019, 11:49 am

    This country is going thru “death by a thousand cuts”. S#!t is getting out of hand.

  • Big Bob November 15, 2019, 11:47 am

    Poor Babies! They must get catatonic around the 4th of July! Maybe they just need another hit on the bong!

  • Le Hunt November 15, 2019, 11:42 am

    Remember these twerps are also upset by clapping and use ‘jazz hands’ instead. If I’m ever anywhere where they ask for ‘jazz hands’, I’ll be sure to clap as loudly as possible.

  • walt morris November 15, 2019, 10:37 am

    more stupid comments by a dumb ass who should not be allowed out of the house by himself.

  • Roger Mudd November 15, 2019, 10:28 am

    Omg watch out for the falling sky. I suggest a 21 bubble salute. Since none of those pansies are suitable for military service. Or maybe a fairy fly by. Damn nobody has any respect for tradition.

  • Matt November 15, 2019, 10:16 am

    Interesting. Earlier this month, Virginia became a fully Democratic party controlled state government. Expect more of this mindset from the Democrats and the Liberal Left.

    My father served during the Korean conflict (aka war) and was honored at his funeral service with service volley from rifles. What UVA has done is an ABSOLUTE DISRESPECT to our military veterans.

  • blueskul November 15, 2019, 10:10 am

    if people continue, to cave, about every thing others find offensive, we will destroy our freedoms from the inside… I kneel for the cross, and stand for the flag

  • BRANDON K LEE November 15, 2019, 8:57 am

    How soy boy, weak ass, cuckold cowards! The Russians are not growing the same seed. The Chinese either. Or North Koreans. What a weak ass generation of soon to be real life victims

  • Ziggy November 15, 2019, 8:51 am

    What has happened to the education system? What has happened to this generation? What will happen when the mooslums start to take over? I think our country is circling the drain.

  • OldOutdoorsGuy November 15, 2019, 8:45 am

    You can probably expect more nonsense such as this from the state of VA after the results of their state election sham become common knowledge. It is typical of the leftist socialist attitude of the Democratic party to come up with a hair brained idea like this one.

    “He argued that “the 21-gun salute is not a required, or even typical, part of Veteran’s Day ceremonies” and suggested that the practice is meant to honor “those who have lost their lives in service to our country.””

    ……. “is meant to honor those who have lost their lives in service to their country”??
    Uh, is that not the worded definition of a KIA “VETERAN”?? What’s your point Mr. Ryan? Is it because, since they gave their lives in defense of our national beliefs of Freedom, Justice for All, and the right of Defense of our Country and WHAT IT STANDS FOR, they are somehow NOT any longer a VETERAN?? How juvenile can a grown man become in standing by such a totally warped sense of priorities as is evident in the erratic operation of the Democratic party of today ……

    Veterans Day is and always has been a day set aside to honor ALL of our Veterans of ALL Wars, both foreign and domestic, and both those “who have lost their lives in defense of their country” and those who have survived such action.

    “The University of Virginia has been firing a 21-gun salute at its Veteran’s Day ceremony for the last ten years.”

    Ten years?? And now, all of a sudden, it becomes a topmost item of concern that the ceremony, performed once a year, be stopped because it upsets the student population?? It “interferes” with the normal teaching routine in the classrooms and labs?? It is causing undue emotional stress and personal emotional anxiety among the student body?? Yeah, and it also takes about 30 seconds or less of each student’s total lifetime away from them as they are “distracted” with thoughts of such an honorable ceremony for their brothers and sisters who have gone before them in defense of their and your rights to FREEDOM …….

    “Ryan refused to change the plans for this year’s proceedings, but said he might consider re-introducing the salute in future years.”

    Typical wishy washy attitude taken by the Dems whenever there is doubt in their actions …..

    “I fully support and am honored that UVA hosts a 24-hour vigil and Veterans Day ceremony put on by our ROTC programs…”

    Right!! Well, words are STILL about the cheapest commodity in your side of this government structure we use today. You say one thing and do the opposite, that is all I look forward to finding in anything the Democratic Party does unless that action directly benefits them personally and then they will go gung ho into the fight with all guns blazing no matter where they are pointed!

    In closing, I offer you a chance to read, maybe for the 1st time, the only piece of honest meaningful literature in this message you are attempting to send to your constituents in Virginia: it’s up above this message response board and is a comment by Jennifer Peery-Griffin. It is in response to your comments on FaceBook and is a true and accurate statement of more people than you care to realize or admit …..

  • Stanley Cox November 15, 2019, 7:23 am

    Another step away from what this great nation once was. If the silent majority doesn’t wake up soon. I fear our great nation is lost. Our country has represented what freedom is to the world. For over 240 years. I fear it will not see 250. In just a few years. We’ve elected a president who would not salute or soldiers. We’ve outlawed the rebel flag. Taken down historical monuments. Expelled elementary students for having something resembling a gun. While bringing an Islamic child to meet the president to apologize for someone finding fault with him putting together a fake bomb and bringing it to school. We glorify these deranged individuals who go on shooting sprees. While blaming guns for it happening. I have a safe full of guns. None have ever gotten themselves out and harmed anything. Just like a knife, a baseball bat, a car, ect. None of these things harm anyone. The people who choose to use them for harming others are the problem. For all these educated people to argue an object does all these terrible things. Is so far into the twilight zone it’s laughable. But I’m not laughing. Because everyday more people seem to buy into this ludacris ideal. Where does it end???

  • Gerald Robinson November 15, 2019, 7:00 am

    This is really a sad ruling by the University. I suppose that other holidays such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, and the Fourth of July will be canceled becasue is upsets some persons feelings. I hope the all the individual who are former military and or their dependants, friends and relatives take pen in hand and request that any Federal aid be withheld from the University for all holidays and lock in the Veterans tuition, but raises the general tuition to replace the lost federal money.

  • Ardvark November 15, 2019, 6:54 am

    Part of the progressive goals, having a compliant non individual thinking society that will not rebel against the massive state control! Our education system has done its job by creating emotionally driven people who would never allow a fact to get in the way of their feelings! The positive side to this , so to speak, is when the progressives reach their goals, these losers will learn what real misery is!

  • The SGM November 15, 2019, 6:20 am

    So the salute is fired from a position which is at the juncture of three campus buildings where classes are being held and the salute, firing of the weapons, might disrupt classes what a crock of s___.
    What is wrong with alerting all the students and professors beforehand that the salute would be fired? It would be more appropriate that they all stood solemnly and remained quiet during the salute; but ,no they wanted to be PC.
    Just another simple way to get around honoring the dead service members and coddling the students.

    • Christian November 16, 2019, 9:45 am

      Exactly what I was wondering! Why are there classes going on during the ceremony honoring the veterans in the first place! Shouldn’t all of the students, faculty, university staff, citizens, etc. be allowed to attend the ceremony?

  • Michael November 15, 2019, 5:40 am

    Did I miss something? The ‘noise’ might be disruptive? What about the Honor, Respect, and simple Appreciation that should be shown to those Who Do and Have Sacrificed Life/Limb for This Country and the Freedoms that are now being trampled by those who have Only Ever TAKEN from this Great Country, without offering to give even the slightest bit of themselves in return. It is so sad to see the direction of Our Country, and what has become of our men. We have become Polynesia. Our men wear grass skirts, while our country blows with every breeze.

  • Dr Motown November 15, 2019, 5:18 am

    Not surprised given the recent election there….state is officially overrun by DC libtards, lobbyists, and career bureaucrats

  • catawampus November 12, 2019, 11:41 pm

    how overly sensitive can I be? let me count the ways. I always hate it when someone thanks me for my service, why you ask? because it reminds me that I didn’t sacrifice anything and I could have done more.

    • ROFCIBC November 15, 2019, 8:15 am

      When I am thanked for my service, I reply with,

      “I was blessed by God to possess the skills to become a USAF pilot, and it was MY honor to have been selected.”

  • SeppW November 12, 2019, 4:58 pm

    Haven’t you heard? UVA is now a safe campus! Only snowflakes, incapable, unproductive, and travellers need apply for admission.

  • Harley121 November 12, 2019, 11:53 am

    What a sad ass reason. What do you have, a bunch of 1 year old kids with emotional issues there???? Shots might scare students,,,, sounds like they all need to be in padded rooms instead of roaming freely!!!

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