Fact Check

Eau Claire Schools Canceled Veterans Day Over Gun Salute

Did a Wisconsin school district cancel Veterans Day ceremonies over concerns about a 21-gun salute?

Published Nov 11, 2014


Claim:   Eau Claire schools canceled a planned Veterans Day ceremony over concerns about a 21-gun salute.


TRUE: Eau Claire schools declined to participate in a decades-old Veterans Day tradition involving a 21-gun salute.
FALSE: Eau Claire schools canceled all Veterans Day observations throughout the district.

Example:   [Collected via Twitter, November 2014]

School Cancels Veteran's Day Ceremony ... Because of 21-Gun Salute


Origins:   In October 2014, Wisconsin's Eau Claire Area School District decided that a longstanding Veterans Day tradition involving a 21-gun salute was no longer appropriate for them due to complaints from students and parents. The decision to discontinue the program involving firearms proved very controversial and was interpreted by many to mean that all observances of Veterans Day had been canceled throughout the district.

Tim Libham, the Executive Director of Administration at the Eau Claire district, explained that the district wished to honor veterans but felt that the presence of firearms on school grounds was upsetting to some students and parents:

We like to honor the veterans; we bring them in on a regular basis. 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.

We'd had family and students that were uneasy, even with blanks being fired on school [premises.]

The intended ceremony was part of a program planned by a veterans' group called the Patriotic Council. Council Vice President Kaye Olsen said the group was unable to reach a compromise with the school over the 21-gun salute:

Now as the last few years have gone on, with the school shootings and everything, it's getting harder to do our veterans programs like we want to.

It's really hard to tell the veterans they're not allowed to bring those rifles in. Which, the only purpose is, to honor our flag and our country and to teach the kids.

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

On 11 November 2014, the district posted photos from their Veterans Day program to Facebook. Olsen said that in light of the Eau Claire schools' policy change, the Patriotic Council held their ceremony and 21-gun salute at a local Burger King.

Last updated:   11 November 2014


    Bringe, Jessica.   "Disagreement Over Firearms Leads to Veterans Day Controversy."

    WEAU-TV.   11 November 2014.

    Yang, Jesse.   "Local School District Puts Veterans Day Program Tradition to Rest."

    WQOW-TV.   11 November 2014.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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