Tuesday, May 4, 2010

News That Matters - May 4, 2010 - The Kent State Massacre 40th Anniversary Edition

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Kent State Massacre - 40th Anniversary
May 4, 1970

Kent State Massacre

Forty years ago today, US National Guard troops using live ammunition, fired 67 rounds in 13 seconds into an unarmed crowd demonstrating against the US invasion of Cambodia, killing four innocent students and wounding nine. Those killed were; Sandra Scheuer,  Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller and William Schroeder. Within several days four million students on campuses across the nation went out on strike effectively shutting down our University system.

Allison Krauss

Chuck Ayers, Photographs, May 1-4, 1970

Ralph Solonitz, Papers and Artifacts, 1970-90

Ralph Solonitz, Papers and Artifacts, 1970-90

University News Service, Photographs, April 30, 1970 - May 4, 1977 (bulk May 4, 1970)

University News Service, Photographs, April 30, 1970 - May 4, 1977 (bulk May 4, 1970)

University News Service, Photographs, April 30, 1970 - May 4, 1977 (bulk May 4, 1970)

Eye Witness: Howard Ruffner

In 1970 I was a second year student at Kent State University (KSU).  My major was broadcast communications.  Prior to attending Kent State I spent  nearly four years in the Air Force where I learned photography.

At KSU I wanted to continue creating photographs so I joined the staffs  of the university newspaper and yearbook.   This was exactly what I wanted.   This gave me a lot of freedom to photograph a wide variety campus life.  After about a year, I applied to be the editor of the yearbook, which covers  university activities  from spring through  the following fall. I had just been told that  I would be the editor for the 1971 book, the Chestnut  Burr, the week before the students were killed on May 4, 1970. The campus was very quiet that spring;  there had been no rallies or protest about the Vietnam war and the quarter was  almost over.

The first rally occurred on May 1, the day after President Nixon announced that the United States would invade  Cambodia.  Over that weekend, several protests took place on campus. The National Guard was brought in and tensions began to rise almost immediately.

Mr. Ruffner's Kent State Gallery

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4 Kent State Students Killed by Troops

8 Hurt as Shooting Follows Reported Sniping at Rally
By John Kifner
Special to The New York Times

Kent, Ohio, May 4 -- Four students at Kent State University, two of them women, were shot to death this afternoon by a volley of National Guard gunfire. At least 8 other students were wounded.

The burst of gunfire came about 20 minutes after the guardsmen broke up a noon rally on the Commons, a grassy campus gathering spot, by lobbing tear gas at a crowd of about 1,000 young people.

In Washington, President Nixon deplored the deaths of the four students in the following statement:

"This should remind us all once again that when dissent turns to violence it invites tragedy. It is my hope that this tragic and unfortunate incident will strengthen the determination of all the nation's campuses, administrators, faculty and students alike to stand firmly for the right which exists in this country of peaceful dissent and just as strong against the resort to violence as a means of such expression."

In Columbus, Sylvester Del Corso, Adjutant General of the Ohio National Guard, said in a statement that the guardsmen had been forced to shoot after a sniper opened fire against the troops from a nearby rooftop and the crowd began to move to encircle the guardsmen.

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May 4th Shootings at Kent State University 40 Years Later

May 2, 2010 Patricia Faulhaber

On May 4th, 2010 Kent State University holds special event commemorating the 40th anniversary of the fatal shooting of four students.

At a relatively quiet, small, unknown rural college in northeast Ohio, during a now unforgettable week in early May in 1970, students had spent four days protesting against the announcement of an expanding Vietnam War into Cambodia. The rallies ended on May 4th, 1970 with four students fatally shot and nine others wounded by Ohio National Guard troops trying to quell the anti-war protests.

Forty-years later, Kent State University is making strides to remember and honor those students. There is a May 4 Memorial, a historic marker detailing the events, and a memorial marker in the parking for each of the four students who died that day. Future plans include erecting a May 4 Visitors Center to sit on top of the hill that was a central location in the tragic shootings.

This year, Kent State will hold a special ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new May 4 Memorial and Walking Tour located on the historic site. Attendees can take one of the expert-guided tours or complete a self-guided tour. The recently awarded National Register of Historic Places plaque will also be on display.

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Special graduations set 40 years after Kent State shooting

IN PROTEST: This May 1970 file photo shows demonstrators showing their sign of protest as ROTC cadets parade at Ohio State University during a ceremony in Columbus, Ohio during the Vietnam War. Denied a graduation ceremony because of student unrest in 1970, graduates of several universities are finally getting a commencement in special ceremonies this spring.


CINCINNATI – Forty years later, Gary Lownsdale is still haunted by what he felt and what he saw in the last days of his senior year.

Shock and outrage over the May 4 National Guard slayings of four Kent State University students, on the other end of Ohio from his University of Cincinnati campus. Then fear and confusion as schools across the state and much of the country saw the demonstrations against the expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia swell into angry, combative confrontations.

One by one, colleges closed and students were ordered to pack up and leave, some amid the acrid smell of tear gas as police and armed soldiers stood guard. TV helicopters buzzed overhead. Rumors and reports were rampant, of undercover FBI agents infiltrating students, or violent radicals converging to escalate the protests.

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We Kill Our Own – The 40th Anniversary of the Kent State Massacre : Veterans Today

Chuck Palazzo

On May 4, 1970, at Kent State University, in the city of Kent, Ohio, members of the Ohio National Guard fired 67 rounds over a period of 13 seconds, killing four students and wounding nine others, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis.  These were unarmed college students who were exercising their constitutional rights to speak their mind, to demonstrate peacefully, and to protest openly against the then recent incursion by US combat forces into Cambodia.

Richard Nixon had been elected President in 1968.  He promised to end the Vietnam War.  Instead of doing so, he was part of the cover-up of the My Lai massacre and freed Lt. Calley, stating that Calley had “served enough time.”  The premeditated murder of over 500 unarmed civilians, many of whom were elderly, women and children was hushed up by our government – the murderer himself freed after serving only 1 day at the Ft. Leavenworth prison and transferred to serve house arrest upon orders given by Nixon.

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I regret the 27 years it took to do my homework

By Thomas Wills

I am a 1983 graduate of Kent State University. I walked up Blanket Hill to Taylor Hall nearly every day for two years, past a metal sculpture with a hole through it.

It, too, was in the path of a National Guard bullet.

Of course I knew about May 4, 1970. And I’d looked at the hole in the Don Drumm sculpture. But I never went to any of the memorial observances. I thought it was time for Kent State and Ohio to get past the past.

I’m not at all minimizing the tragedy of “four dead in Ohio.” It was just not my decade.

Last week, however, I did pay attention.

I learned how things unraveled in the face of frustration and misunderstanding. I learned that I failed to grasp essential American history in my zeal to learn journalism inside Taylor Hall.

What happened 40 years ago, as well as my recognition of it now, were both unforeseen.

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A 40-year-old tragedy and the wounds that never heal

by Rick Perloff

Alan Canfora had given the talk dozens, maybe hundreds, of times. He spoke passionately about the events that preceded the Kent State University shootings: the U.S. incursion into Cambodia in April 1970 that galvanized thousands of antiwar demonstrators; Ohio Governor James Rhodes' irresponsible diatribe the day before, when he said campus protesters were "the worst type of people that we harbor in America."

Then there was the nightmarish confrontation itself — the soldiers who retreated to the crest of a hill and then suddenly turned, raised their rifles, and began to shoot unarmed students. Most memorable of all was the sharp explosive jab he felt when a bullet ripped his right wrist, a pain that could not compare to the emotional turmoil he experienced when he saw his friend Jeffrey Miller in an ambulance, lying on his back, his shirt removed, blood caked on his chest, dying of a gaping wound, silenced forever.

Canfora would tell audiences that Miller — as well as Allison Krause, Sandra Scheuer and William Schroeder, who were also killed in the 13-second melee — can never cry out for truth or justice. He would mention the unspeakable grief their parents experienced each day, and that he felt a moral obligation to speak for these "martyrs," as well as for the other students who were injured near Taylor Hall.

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By Neil Young

Tin soldiers and Nixon's comin'.
We're finally on our own.
This summer I hear the drummin'.
Four dead in Ohio.

Gotta get down to it.
Soldiers are gunning us down.
Should have been done long ago.
What if you knew her and
Found her dead on the ground?
How can you run when you know?

Gotta get down to it.
Soldiers are cutting us down.
Should have been done long ago.
What if you knew her and
Found her dead on the ground?
How can you run when you know?

Tin soldiers and Nixon's comin'.
We're finally on our own.
This summer I hear the drummin'.
Four dead in Ohio.

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