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Boise State Relents, Gives OK for Veterans Day Gun Salute


Boise State University officials, who earlier rejected a request from veterans to allow a 21-gun salute on Monday to mark Veterans Day, have now decided it can take place at Bronco Stadium.

School officials initially said they were concerned that gunshots on campus during classes could scare students and staff.

But late Thursday, officials gave the OK for the salute, though they still had concerns.

“We certainly promote Veterans Day activities, and yes we can send e-mails to all of our students and hand out fliers,” BSU spokesman Frank Zang told KTVB television in Boise. “Truthfully in this day and age not everyone reads their e-mail it is hard to communicate with everyone.”

The school already planned events that included a flag-raising ceremony, the national anthem, an armored Humvee on campus, and a speech by Brig. Gen. Alan Gayhart, deputy commanding general of the Idaho National Guard.

Zang cited the fatal shootings last April at Virginia Tech as one reason why Boise State at first wasn’t going to allow the 21-gun salute. Boise State has recently practiced response training for such an event with Boise police.

R.K. Williams, a Vietnam War veteran and BSU employee who runs the campus veterans services office, had suggested scheduling the salute at noon. He said concerns that gunshots might scare people were unfounded.

“It’ll be over so fast, by the time the third volley goes off, you will go, ‘It was over there, and I’m over here,'” he told the Idaho Statesman.

He said it was also a way to show respect for BSU students who are veterans.

“You go fight, and you come back,” he said. “They care about you for a little while, and then you’re just like set aside until something else happens.”

University officials said six students and alumni have died in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“It sounds like a very honorable way to pay tribute to those students,” said Dawn Rowe, whose husband, Alan B. Rowe, a Boise State graduate, was killed in Iraq in 2004.

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