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This Day in History, 1970: Kent State

On May 4, 1970, at Kent State University, 100 National Guardsmen fired their rifles into a group of students, killing four and wounding 11. This incident occurred in the aftermath of President Richard Nixon's April 30 announcement that U.S. and South Vietnamese forces had been ordered to execute an "incursion" into Cambodia to destroy North Vietnamese bases there. In protest, a wave of demonstrations and disturbances erupted on college campuses across the country.

At Kent State University in Ohio, student protesters torched the ROTC building on campus and Ohio Governor James Rhodes responded by calling on the National Guard to restore order. Under harassment from the demonstrators, the Guardsmen fired into the crowd, killing four and wounding 11. The Guardsmen were later brought to trial for the shootings, but found not guilty.

President Nixon issued a statement deploring the Kent State deaths, but said that the incident should serve as a reminder that, "When dissent turns to violence it invites tragedy." The shooting sparked hundreds of protests and college shutdowns, as well as a march on Washington, D.C., by 100,000 people. The National Student Association and former Vietnam Moratorium Committee leaders called for a national university strike of indefinite duration, beginning immediately, to protest the war. At least 100 colleges and universities pledged to strike. The presidents of 37 universities signed a letter urging President Nixon to show more clearly his determination to end the war.

In Memoriam: Allison Krause, William Schroeder, Jeffrey Miller, Sandra Scheuer

For more information:

http://www.historychannel.com/tdih/tdih.jsp?category=vietnamwar&month=10272957&day=10272969 (This Day in History)

http://www.may4.org/ (The Kent May 4 Center)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kent_State_shootings (Wikipedia entry on the shootings)


My Dad attended Kent State for Gradschool, starting in the fall of 70 or 71. He graduated Carnegie Mellon in the Late 60's, and took a few years off inbetween.

While my Dad, obviousely, didn't know any of the victems that died, he did know some of the people that had been wounded, and was part of the May 4th Society (Probably the predacesor to that second link you have there) in the early years. So yea, it's an interesting and appropriate choice somehow; Today marks 1 month until the 1 year aniversary of his own death.

But yea, thank you for makeing me think of him on this crazy stress filled morning I have, really. I just wanted to let you know that this post prompted alot of good thoughts of him, and what his connectiont to KSU was.

I'm glad I helped you think about your father.
I was a graduate student of higher education at Columbia at the time, and was informed, by a man who knew Ohio colleges well, that the rioting was an annual tradition at Kent, and would have taken place without the invasion of Cambodia. Surely the Governor knew this, and may have, and certainly should have, informed the President when he was told to respond as he did.
A couple years later, I was at a dinner with a cousin who was still outraged by the incident as well as one of the National Guardsmen who was there. It was...interesting.
I am much too young to have any connection to this; I'm not sure I even really learned about it in school. Until someone explained to me what the CSNY song was about, my only real exposure was a character in a fantasy series who was traumatized by the event.

People say we're in the most polarized political climate in decades, but we're still very far away from the weathermen and widespread campus riots. I can't even imagine how poisonous the atmosphere must have been - although not poisonous to care about the campus shootings at a black campus ten days later, according to wiki.

And then I think "Well, we're a draft or another terror attack on american soil away from finding out".
I point out this spello only because you're a professional writer, and you're married to a professional word nerd: it's in memoriam, not memorium.
Corrected; thanks.

December 2016

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