UPDATE: WI School Cancels Vet’s Day Ceremony. Worried About 21 Gun Salute.

 

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UPDATE: 11/12/14

The public response to our post has been literally overwhelming. The story has been shared by the NRA News, and it’s the 3rd most shared story they’ve posted in the last month! This story has more hits on our website than any other post, but more importantly many, many of you have called, emailed, and reached out to the Eau Claire School District to politely voice your dissatisfaction over their decision to break from the 80+ year Veteran’s Day tradition of holding 21 gun salute on school grounds.

We’ve received word that most of your interactions with the school district are going unanswered, BUT take heart because the message is getting through!

Richard Spindler, head of the school board talked with one of our readers about the situation. He explained part of the decision to cut the 21 gun salute was based upon concerns raised by those who work with special needs students. Our reader correctly pointed out that there are numerous ways to address these concerns but still continue the district’s nearly century old tradition. For instance, explaining to the students the significance of a 21 gun salute and preparing them for the noise associated with the tradition. Or allowing the students with concerns to remain inside during the tradition. Or providing hearing protection for these students. Or simply telling them to cover their ears during the 21 gun salute.

Spindler has indicated the school district has received tons of phone calls, emails, Facebook posts, and so on, about this issue. We’re told the district will be holding very serious talks about how they handled this year’s Veteran’s Day ceremonies, and how to handle next year’s events.

In short, your messages are being heard, and the Eau Claire School District is listening. We have a chance to help them make this situation right. But remember to keep your messages succinct, on point, and most importantly respectful. While we may not agree with the district’s decision, remember that name calling, insults, threats and tirades may end up doing more harm to our cause than good.

Our message is getting through, and we’re making an impact! Great work everyone!

 

Original post: 11/10/14

School officials in one Wisconsin town have taken irrational fears of firearms to a new low. According to WEAU, the Eau Claire School District has cancelled their annual Veteran’s Day Program because they’re worried about “uneasiness” over the traditional 21 gun salute.

Keep in mind a Veteran’s Day 21 gun salute uses blanks. And those blanks are fired from show piece guns that are mechanically altered so that they can not fire real bullets. And keep in mind, that 21 gun salute, and those blanks, and those show piece guns are used by military veterans – men and women who would lay down their lives in service to others.

“There are just some conditions that we have to adhere to and the shooting of guns, even with blanks, is something we don’t feel is appropriate given society, and the concerns that we have and that the community has, on school premises.” Said Tim Libham, the Executive Director of Administration for the Eau Claire School District.

Veterans in the Eau Claire area have been performing this ceremony in the schools for more than 80 years. Kaye Olsen, the Vice President of the Eau Claire Patriotic Council says her group has now been forced to move their Veteran’s Day Program to a local Burger King.

“I was hoping maybe we could find a compromise, but when it comes to the weapons, there was no compromise.” Says Olsen.

So just to recap, since the early 1930’s vets groups in the Eau Claire area have held a Veteran’s Day ceremony at a local school. Part of the ceremony includes a 21 gun salute. This year school district officials told the veterans there would be no compromise, if they planned to do a 21 gun salute they would not be allowed on school property. Instead of providing students with a valuable learning opportunity about our nation’s history, the Eau Claire veterans are now forced to hold their Veteran’s Day Ceremony in a fast food restaurant parking lot.

Perhaps it is ignorance on the Eau Claire School District’s part about how a 21 gun salute works. Or perhaps they think bowing down to the irrational worries of a small number of “uneasy” people is better than insulting our nation’s veterans. But whatever the reason, this kind of decision-making should be cause for concern among the residents of Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

 

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Our readers said:

Write us your thoughts about this post. Be kind & Play nice.
  1. Gene says:

    Can’t fix stupid

  2. LTCINFANTRY says:

    Really? Just really?

  3. Josh J. says:

    ASHAMED.

  4. James Hadaway says:

    Stupid, stupid, stupid.

  5. southerner says:

    Disgraceful

  6. Allen Gomoll says:

    Disgraceful!!!

  7. Jim Harvey says:

    As a Boyceville, WI area veteran w/ 40 yrs & 8 mos active duty in the USN Submarine Service I am very disappointed in area school boards that make assinine decisions such as this issue w/ 21 gun salutes.

  8. Mark George says:

    I only had one thought when I read this, why are American kids in school on Veterans Day? No wonder they do not understand the tradition.

  9. Robert varwig says:

    So I just read the update because the article poped up on my on this day facebook feed. I live in eau claire and so as veterans day approached I reached out to the school board. They told me that they had no part what so ever in removing the 21 gun salute from the program and they put the blame onto the patriotic council and vfw and other organizations claiming they didnt offer it that year. So reading the update I feel as though the fed me a bunch of BS.

  10. Geo says:

    America was not made by pussyfooting around…. these traditions are vital to American people no matter what color or creed you are

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