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Memorial Day diss: 21-gun salute scrubbed because it violates local ordinance

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A Pennsylvania town has scrubbed a planned Memorial Day 21-gun salute honoring its Civil War heroes because of elders’ blind adherence to a local ordinance.

Source: www.wbur.org

A 1983 Stroudsburg, Penn., ordinance forbids “any person to use, fire or discharge any gun or other firearm within the borough,” which includes discharging blanks, according to the Pocono Record, which reported:

Stroudsburg Borough Council member Boyd Weiss said the 21-gun salute is a practice that has taken place in the borough for most of his life.

Weiss said he understands why the ordinance is in place, but he thought an exception could be made because the salute was customary at similar events in the past. 

“I couldn’t understand that,” Weiss said. “My entire life we’ve had gun salutes on Veterans Days or in celebration of veterans.”

Because the cemetery lies within the borough limits, the ordinance would bar a military funeral with full honors, Weiss said.

Borough Manager Cathie Thomas said that the proposed 21-gun salute raised a red flag for her when she first heard about it, so she consulted the borough attorney.

“It was clear that it was for the ceremony, and there were blanks being used,” she said, according to the Record. “But again, he looked at the simple, clear wording ” of the ordinance.

Weiss said he raised the issue with other council members, all of whom said it was the “most ridiculous thing they had ever heard.”

Social media users thought it was equally ridiculous.

One person wondered how far the ordinance could go.

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