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Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Four Dead in Ohio

allison krause william schroeder
jeffrey miller sandra scheuer

The Four Dead in Ohio

Allison Krause - Age: 19, 110 Yards
William Schroeder - Age: 19, 130 Yards
Jeffrey Miller - Age: 20, 90 Yards
Sandra Scheuer - Age: 20, 130 Yards

Thirty five years ago, on May 4, 1970, an anti-war student demonstration at Kent State University, Ohio left four students dead, one paralyzed, and eight others wounded.

The demonstration ended when the National Guard fired into the crowd of students. The shootings ended the lives of four students Jeffrey Miller, Allison Krause, William Schroeder, and Sandra Scheuer.

Shortly thereafter, Neil Young wrote what would become an anthem of a generation -- the song "Ohio" in memory of the "Four dead in Ohio".

Over the years, Thrasher's Wheat has received more mail and comments on this song than almost any other Young song. Comments like this from Jodi:
"I just would like to say that I am a 23 old student and I am doing a speech on CSNY during the protest era, mainly the song 'Ohio'. I would have to say that this song has touched me and it has become one of my favorite songs. It is tragic what happened to the students, especially when I read two of those who died were just walking to their next class. This song puts me in a time I was never in and I apprecitate the music as well as the students."

The song "Ohio" was an anthem to a generation in the 1970's. Here's how Neil remembers the song from liner notes of the Decade album:

"It's still hard to believe I had to write this song. It's ironic that I capitalized on the death of these American students. Probably the most important lesson ever learned at an American place of learning. David Crosby cried after this take."

For more on the song, the historic aftermath of its impact, and photos of the day, see Lyrics Analysis of Neil Young's song "Ohio".

Open Comment Thread Below

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At 5/02/2005 10:13:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just would like to say that I am a 23 old student and I am doing a speech on CSNY during the protest era, mainly the song 'Ohio'. I would have to say that this song has touched me and it has become one of my favorite songs. It is tragic what happened to the students, especially when I read two of those who died were just walking to their next class. This song puts me in a time I was never in and I apprecitate the music as well as the students.

At 5/03/2005 07:28:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am also doing a speech on this song. I am a 17-year-old junior at South Salem High School in Oregon and our assignment is to find a song that is relavent to what we have studied. I was going to do "For What it's Worth" by Buffalo Springfield, but I found this one instead. So, if you have never heard it, it's time you did. Neil Young is such an influential musician and has brought more light upon a very influential event in our nation's history. It is a shameful event just as Nixon was a shameful president. Ha, there's some *opinion*! Anyway, good stuff. And I'd like to thank thrasherswheat for giving me a lot of the info that I need for my presentation.

At 5/08/2005 09:26:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a 49 year old Neil Young fan-who is surprised and amazed/proud of you youngsters (under 25) that appreciate Neil's influence in music and society.
I'm sure he is flattered also.
His music will out live us all!

At 5/18/2005 11:51:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think it's amazing to see kids from my generation listening to Neil Young and other older artists. I was 14 or 15 when I first heard "Like a Hurricane" on the radio, and the quality of the music alone drew me to Mr. Young's music. With the increasing commercialization and degeneration of popular music today, classic rock is coming back amongst the younger generation.

Long Live Rock.

At 1/23/2006 01:07:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was a ten year old, that day, May 4.1970.
I lived in Ohio, and could not understand why or how this could happen. I cried that day.
I cried the first time I heard the song "Ohio"

All this time later, I can not understand why or how this could happen. All this time later,the first notes in the intro still brings tears to my eyes.

May this song live through the annals of time.
It will always be a tribute to the consciousness of a generation, who's leaders had no conscience.

Thank You, Neil Young - Thank You.

At 4/23/2006 07:51:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those who love Neil's "Ohio", I suggest listening to Bob Dylan's "Master of War". One must remember that another reason four students had to die at Kent State (and tens of thousands of American soldiers after "Ohio" was written) was that psychopathic master of war make huge profits during times of war. Bush and his pals are truly "Master of War".

At 4/02/2007 10:32:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a 25 year old studying Japanese and Economics at Ohio State. My father was nearly killed by the National Guard walking to class during the anti-war riots at Ohio State in the 60's.

I travel to Japan from time to time. When I am there—and in my heart always—the lyrics in 'Ohio' bring my stance on war to life. They bring a spirit to the fore that no amount of work in translation could ever communicate so succinctly—powerfully—to the people I meet there.

Thank you, Neil. There's no guilt for you in capitalizing on what happened at Kent State. Without your song, dozens of people in my life alone would not understand what it feels like to lose a life to a political agenda. There must be uncounted thousands more who have needed to hear your song, too. You made money because the world needed to hear what you had to say. Your song is a service—and we thank you.

At 10/25/2007 03:15:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My dad was a student at The Ohio State University during the Kent State riots. His roommate was a piano composition major who later became a record producer for Neil Young. My dad wrote the lyrics for "Ohio" shortly after hearing the news of the shootings. He showed them to his roomate and was shocked to hear Neil Young sing them when they released "Ohio". The original manuscript in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is my father's handwriting and he has an original dated manuscipt in his poetry collection. I asked my dad why he never pursued getting proper credit for his poem. He said, "that's not why I wrote it." Dad got a blender for a wedding gift from his roomate.

At 4/24/2009 06:49:00 PM, Anonymous Kaitlyn.Harris said...

I am currently 15 years old, and I am taking American History. I live in Canada and have grown up with a relative of Neil Young. I find that he is an inspiration. In history class we were shown pictures of the anti-war student demonstration. I find it terrible that the lives of Jeffrey Miller, Allison Krause, William Schroeder, and Sandra Scheuer were taken during a PEACE protest. I also find it horrible how 2 of these students were only on their way to there next class and weren't actually participating in the protest. The lyrics to Neil Young's song 'Ohio' are really meaningful.


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