21 Gun Salute

Seven guns fired three times is a “21 Gun Salute”, yes?

Just trying to put the one military funeral I’ve ever attended in perspective.

Linky to article.

In a word, no.

What you describe is a three-volley salute. It’s fired in three volleys. The firing party consists of 3-7 members. The firing line fires three times. Even if 21 shots are fired, it’s not a 21-gun salute.

In the military context these terms represent, a “gun” is a piece of artillery. It’s not a gun salute unless it’s fired by artillery pieces.

Cecil’s article gets this right, in the sense that nations, heads of state, and recognized leaders have the ceremonial right to a gun salute. But I have never seen a military funeral below the senior flag officer level with ceremonial artillery in attendance.

Cecil fails to make the the distinction that the “gun” in question must be artillery, not an individual weapon, so invites the confusion you fell into. (Of course, if you know your topic, you already know not to confuse the two, so in that sense the volley salute is actually off-topic for the article. Maybe that’s why Cece didn’t mention it. :smiley: )

Having worked funeral detail a lot, I knew the difference - but the family almost never did. They would say things like “thank you for the 21 gun salute” and no one would correct them. Usually, it was only “thank you for your sacrifice” in reply.

Yeah, he probably should have, since I don’t recall seeing a 21-gun salute in movies/TV but we see the funeral volley a lot in media. Unless you knew the difference (and then you probably already knew the answer to the question) chances are Jason was thinking of the funeral detail and not the actual gun salute.

What I’m about to say is probably editorializing a smidge off-topic, but I’ll just say now that one of the proofs of how effective our military has been is the fact that the overwhelming majority of our citizenry never has to learn that a gun is not a personal firearm… and the other pieces of cultural arcana and technical knowledge required to serve under arms. It’s a testament that so many people can remain purely “civilians” and completely innocent of that knowledge, and the risk and sacrifice that can come with it.

That said, if Cecil chooses to update that article in the future, maybe he could consider adding a paragraph distinguishing between a gun salute and a volley salute, just to establish context and prevent confusion (hopefully).