Naval Station Norfolk honors nation’s fallen heroes on Memorial Day with 21-gun salute


A Coast Guard honor guard renders a 21-gun salute during a Pearl Harbor Survivors ceremony held at Base Alameda, Monday, Dec. 7, 2015. The ceremony honors survivors who served in the armed forces during the attack on Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Barry Bena)

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – On Monday, Naval Station Norfolk will join together with other military installations in commemorating Memorial Day with the highest honor a nation can render — the 21-gun salute.

While the event is not open to the public, those in close proximity may hear the gun salute ceremony when it begins at noon on May 25. The saluting battery from NAVSTA Norfolk’s Security Department will fire a single shot at one-minute intervals until the 21-gun tribute is complete.

The salute will take place at the USS Iowa Memorial — which honors the 47 sailors who were killed
onboard the USS Iowa when one of the ship’s turrets exploded in 1989.

“Memorial Day is a special holiday, a single day during which we honor all those who died in
service to our nation,” said Capt. Vince Baker, Naval Station Norfolk Commanding Officer.
“Conducting a 21-gun salute is a small way we can honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in
exchange for our continued freedom.”

A 21-gun salute is a form of observance — dated back as far as the 14th century — when cannons and firearms were first used. The warships would fire a cannon seven times while the land batteries fired three guns for every cannon fired from the warships — hence the 21-gun salute.

August 1875 marks the day that the salute became the highest honor a nation rendered.

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