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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

40 Years Since 4 Dead in Ohio: Kent State Massacre Remembered

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


On Monday, May 4, 1970 at 12:24 PM, twenty-eight Ohio National Guardsmen began shooting into a crowd of student anti-war protesters at Kent State University. In thirteen seconds, the guardsmen had fired sixty-seven rounds and four students lay dead.

Immediately after the Kent State shooting (sometimes referred to as the "Kent State Massacre"), Neil Young composed the song "Ohio" after looking at photos appearing in Life magazine. Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young went to the studio and recorded the song which was released to radio stations shortly after the killings. Soon, the lyrics "Four dead in Ohio" became an anthem to a generation.

In the liner notes of the Decade album, Neil wrote:
"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."


kent state
"What if you knew her and found her dead on the ground?"


The four killed and nine wounded were all full-time students.

The song 'Ohio' -- a response to the Kent State University tragedy -- is "the most evocative pop-culture response to a defining moment in American history".

kent-state-tear-gas.jpg
Students and National Guard Clash at Kent State, Ohio


The events of May 4, 1970 have been extensively detailed since that day and there still remain many unresolved inconsistencies surrounding the activities of the Guardsmen and students.

ohio-kent-bayonets.gif
"Gotta get down to it
Soldiers are cutting us down
Should have been done long ago."


Jimmy McDonough writes in the Neil Young Biography "Shakey" about the song "Ohio": "In ten lines, Young captured the fear, frustration and anger felt by the youth across the country and set it to a lumbering D-modal death march that hammered home the dread." (Listen to clip of "Ohio")

kent state president-nixon.jpg
"Tin Soldiers" & President Nixon


Crosby once said that Young calling Nixon's name out in the lyrics was 'the bravest thing I ever heard.' Crosby noted that at the time, it seemed like those who stood up to Nixon, like those at Kent State, were shot. Neil Young did not seemed scared at all.

kent-state-campus-map.jpg


When asked about releasing the song "Ohio", Graham Nash responded:

    "Four young men and women had their lives taken from them while lawfully protesting this outrageous government action. We are going back to keep awareness alive in the minds of all students, not only in America, but worldwide…to be vigilant and ready to stand and be counted… and to make sure that the powers of the politicians do not take precedent over the right of lawful protest."




A video collage of still images commemorating the 36th Anniversary of the killing of four college students by National Guardsman at Kent State in 1970

Start and end sequence of a 1 hr documentary special by Germany's WDR TV. Coverage originating from major U.S. networks. TV Teams of NBC, ABC and CBS had been present.

YouTube Video - In 1970, in response to Nixon's widening of the Vietnam War into Cambodia, students throughout the US protested. Nixon sent the National Guard to restore order to the Kent State campus. The resulting consequences changed the course of the war.

Student Video Project of Kent State Massacre May 4, 1970.

"Ohio" music video.

kent state banner



From DownWithTyranny! on why students don't protest today JD said...
Concerning contemporary civil disobedience:

The youth do protest today. In the beginning of the Iraq War, there were some huge protests. My dad marched with me on Washington and told me it reminded him of May Day. In the late nineties, there were some pretty significant anti-globalization protests. There are tons of small - but often effective - protests in the environmental movement, and a huge, annual protest at the School of the Americas. When I was in college, there was a wave of succesful living wage campaigns on college campuses, including mine.

But I would suggest two reasons we don't protest as often - or as big - as our parents: First, I'd imagine we're more cynical than the boomers were.

Second, the mainstream media these days ensures that even the most succesful protests get little air-time. It always vastly underestimates the numbers, and brands the entire event by focusing entirely on the most extremist, least sympathetic factions. In college, I saw this happen in every large-scale protest in which I ever participated. This lack of coverage contributed to the perception that we don't protest, which perhaps ultimately became a self-fulfilling prophesy. Given the futility of our protests, I for one stopped protesting in the old-fashioned way and started blogging.

Maybe we just weren't doing it right, but civil disobedience, like democracy, doesn't work without a functioning press.

Of course, I'd be open to suggestions from the veterans of the civil rights movement and anti-Vietnam movement. But, to no baby boomer in particular, I have to ask, why aren't you on the streets again? Or are you?

csny-ohio-1970.jpg
Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young




From the film "Dominoes" — http://dominoesmovie.com "Ohio" (antiwar anthem) - Neil Young / CSNY singing Vietnam War protest music with vintage Nixon clips.

ohio-geoff-moore.jpg
Graphic by Geoff Moore, Silver Moon


And. We're. Still. Living. With. War.

Some letters on the subject...

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54 Comments:

At 5/03/2010 10:02:00 PM, Anonymous Jodi 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 appreciate the music as well as the students.

Jodi

 
At 5/03/2010 10:07:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was lying there on the front porch of my parents home and I decided to pick it up on the way in the house. I was living there with them and was coming home from work. It was May 4th, 1970. I was not quite 20 years old.

Some 8 months ago, sometime in October 1969, I had landed a seasonal job at the Hecht Company in the Bethesda Mall in Maryland. It was a department store, and sold everything from clothing to household goods. Including toys. I was to be the Christmas Department Manager, which was located in the toy department.

The company also hired a half dozen young ladies, some of whom were home from college for the season, and were just taking the job to hold them over while home. Then, it would be back to school after the holidays.

Allison was one of these young women, and immediately a friend. We had an instant connection. She was beautiful, happy, and so alive I could not believe it. She loved people, especially the children who came into our section of the huge department store.

The company had provided all the girls with costumes that were to accent the holiday spirit. Allison was dressed as an elf, and played her part with enthusiasm.

One day Goldie Hawn of TV fame ( Laugh In and of course later, movies and such ) came in to do her shopping for toys for her family. We had a wonderful time laughing and enjoying this star's kindness and good humor. A memory surely neither Allison nor I would ever forget.

Allison loved children. We talked about our futures over lunch and many times dinner, and the main thing I will always remember about her was her great anticipation and excitement about someday having children of her own. We both agreed we would never have the type of toys we were selling, but would much rather have toys that had character and substance. She was always saying how she wanted wooden toys for her children. She had dreams, and they were beautiful. I had never met anyone like her.

As the season ended, and it was time for her to go back to college, we realized we had had a wonderful friendship, and were quite attached to one another. I knew her parents, and we had become quite close. But she had to go back......and I ended up being transferred to a different department.

The months flew by, and we were both looking forward to the summer, having made plans to be together again, and enjoying each others company. The beach was included in many of those happy plans.

After a long day at work I was coming up the sidewalk, arriving at home and upon seeing the newspaper still lying on the front porch, I bent over to pick it up, thinking it was a bit odd that it was still sitting outside.

As I bent over, my eyes caught the headline, and I was shocked to see that the Ohio National Guard had shot and killed/wounded students on the campus of Kent State. That's odd I thought. That is where my Allison is..... And as my eyes frantically scanned the rest of the page, I saw her picture.

My life changed at that moment. Her life was finished. Extinguished for no reason. And that fact changed the way I thought about everything.

For me, it was the real beginning of the end of any hopes of a structured, educated effort to build a suburban life. All normal behavior went out the proverbial window. I was now a dissenter. I was a protester. I was anti-establishment. I felt sorry for the Vets who had been sent to Vietnam. Somehow, I escaped that fate, through the lottery. But I was not a hater of them. I lost friends and classmates over there. I knew some of what they went through.

I was close to this mindset even before they killed Allison Krause.
But when they did that.....They pushed me over the edge.
I am now 58, and still think of her often, and see her in my dreams sometimes.
The years have gone by......and I sit in my Lazyboy, watch the news, and I have to wonder..... why no one cares. Including myself. I will have some 'splainin' to do.

Sorry Allison. Sorry I have let you down.

 
At 5/03/2010 10:13:00 PM, Anonymous Tami said...

I live in Kent, and 37 years after it, it still rings heavy on us, even though it won't happen again. I'm only 18 years old, and my parents told me about it. The song "Ohio" makes me think, and makes me wonder if anything would have been different if this never happened.

Tami

 
At 5/03/2010 11:29:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

RIP Ohio. America.
May we never tread that way again.

"Maybe we just weren't doing it right, " ?

Teach your children well.



- Not Rotten Johnny

 
At 5/04/2010 07:53:00 AM, Anonymous Charley Harvilicz said...

I'm 62 years old, and a U.S. Veteran (Navy Submarine Service) Had a Brother in country (Viet Nam)when this happened. I still cry when I think about it. What the hell use, What is it really all about, was my grandfathers, My Fathers, mine and my Brothers service to this country, when our own Government can do something like this? The way things are going now, you might think we may see it again. Don't think so, though, Kids cared more about things then......or so it seems.

Charley Harvilicz

 
At 5/04/2010 08:53:00 AM, Anonymous Todd said...

I was 16 at the time of the shootings and had not yet gotten into the antiwar movement. I first heard the song Ohio - July 1970 when the band played the old hockey arena on the south side of Minneapolis, Minnesota where the Mall of America is presently. The concert was a scene - thick MJ smoke visible in the stage spots with kids from 12 to 24 dancing half naked all night in the hot & sticky arena that seated less than 10,000. C,S,N,&Y were lined up center stage on tall barstools - all with guitars - Crosby in his trademark buckskin fringed shirt. The intro to Ohio was so hunting and unfamiliar - that most of the crowd quieted down and listened to the first verse, puzzeled as to what the words were and meant - what the song was about ... but the entire arena erupted in unison when they sang the '4 Dead in Ohio' reprieve. I still get goosebumps and become retrospective when I hear Ohio sung. It simply is sad - to think of what kids had and were trying to achieve in the 60's - and how a psychotic administration could fracture the masses with one act of domestic terrorism. During the late 50's and 60's, kids in America came out of their houses, looked around to find that "something is happening here". And for a very short time - a long time ago, the younger crowd in America attained a cohesiveness that won't be repeated. Just perhaps, the stuff that held us together was taken away on May 4 1970. It seems to me, the kids that lived through those times and learned from Kent State - decided it was best to get a house and raise their kids inside.

 
At 5/04/2010 09:07:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi folks!

As you all probably already know, in Italy there's a great band named RUSTIES (www.myspace.com/rustiesband). They've been a NY tribute band for more than a dozen years (even releasing 3 albums of Neil covers!) and few months ago they actually moved along releasing to critical acclaim the album "Move Along", their first CD of originals.

Four years ago they played their nice version of Ohio at the OBS festival in Germany... and here's the video link:

http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=51139556

I still think that this song is absolutely relevant today (and not only to US citizens), and I think it was worthy to share this video with you as an Italian tribute to the memory of those 4 guys killed by the government.

 
At 5/04/2010 09:34:00 AM, Anonymous Jonathan said...

God bless you all.

And God bless Allison, William, Jeffrey, and Sandra.

 
At 5/04/2010 09:54:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wasn't yet a year old when this event took place, but my Mother kept a copy of the Life Magazine and I recall reading the article years later. I am from Ohio, so it hit home to me when I was in my teens. Today as a parent of college age kids, it touches my heart to think that these kids Mothers and Fathers had to suffer this way.

The most incredible thing is, that until tonight, it had never dawned on me that the song Ohio was even about this tragedy. I have heard it many times, but until hearing it again tonight, it had never clicked. That is how I found this site. I wanted to read the lyrics, as to know exactly what they say.

I have heard that my Dad had been in the National Guard and had been out for a number of years at the time this happened and was so thankful that he was not associated with the barbarians who committed this horrible act.

To anyone who knew and loved any of the students that were killed or injured, or that witnessed this horror, may the Lord be with you and keep his hand of mercy and Grace upon you. I am sure the pain lingers on.

 
At 5/04/2010 10:03:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back then the students and young people were passionate about their beliefs, and were active in their demonstrations. The music of that era holds so much dissent and frustration over the decay and corruption of our government and of course anti war, anti hate. Everything was different then.
We have become our parents. We are what we protested against. We had such huge and wonderful plans on just how we would change the world when we got our chance.

We have blown it.
We have squandered away our ideals.

We forgot all about how we were always gonna love each other. That there was no comprehensible way we could see ourselves involved in war, corruption, Enron greed, hate, racial or religious persecution.....we forgot it all. Where is the mindset that put the flower in the gun barrel of that soldier?

So many have given so much.
Others have had it taken from them.

We probably should have spent a few more minutes with our kids when they were younger before handing over the reins of power. 'Cause it is gonna be one of them who pushes the wrong button. One of our own kids.

Maybe we should have shared with them some of our long ago dreams....the ones we forgot about.

Thomas

 
At 5/04/2010 10:14:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Support the troops.
Bring'em home.

 
At 5/04/2010 10:21:00 AM, Anonymous by Elaine Holstein said...

Today, it will be 40 years since my son Jeff was shot and killed on the campus of his college. He and three of his classmates were murdered by the National Guard at an antiwar demonstration at Kent State.

During a 13-second fusillade of rifle fire, Jeff, Allison Krause, Sandy Scheuer, and Bill Schroeder were killed and nine of their fellow students were wounded.

The students who had gathered that day - all unarmed - held a large range of opinions about the seemingly endless war in Vietnam.

Some, including Jeff, objected intensely to the increasing escalation of a war that had begun when they were barely in their teens. In fact, Jeff had written a poem about the war titled "Where Does It End?" in February 1966, shortly before he turned 16.

Others in the crowd had mixed feelings. Some were just onlookers. Some, like Sandy, were on their way to their next class.

And so, May 4, 1970, became one of the blackest days in the history of our country.

It was the day I not only lost my child but also lost my innocence.

I could no longer take on faith what I had been taught all my life about my "constitutional rights," the rights that supposedly made our country different from so many others.

The decade that followed was filled for me with grief, anger, disillusionment, and lawsuits. At the end of our legal battles, we were pressured by the judge and by our lawyers into accepting a settlement in which the parents of the dead students discovered that their sons' and daughters' lives were worth a mere $15,000 each.

It was never about the money for me. I wanted an admission of culpability, and more than that, I wanted an assurance that no mother would ever again have to bury a child for simply exercising the freedom of speech. But all we got was a watered-down statement that better ways must be found, etc., etc.

I also discovered what I perhaps should have known already: that so many of my compatriots did not feel as I did. They believed that the students who were killed or wounded got what they deserved and, as I heard far too often, the National Guard "should have killed more of them." And now - 40 years later - those wounded students are almost senior citizens.

Jeff, however, remains in my memory forever as that bright, funny, passionate 20-year-old.

I have spent 40 years watching my son Russ, Jeff's big brother, grow older. I've valued (perhaps more than I would have if Jeff had not died) the close, satisfying relationship we share.

I've had the great joy of seeing my grandchildren, Jeff (yes, another Jeff Miller) and Jamie, evolve from cute little children into a couple of the most admirable adults I know. I've danced at their weddings and have been made happy by their happiness.

But, once in a while, I wonder about my son Jeff's future, which had so needlessly been cut short.

What would he have been like now at age 60? What sort of career would he have had? Would he have married? And what about those other grandchildren that my husband and I might have enjoyed? Now, as I watch the news on TV each night, I deplore the increasing ugliness of politics, and I'm afraid. I know too well what can happen when hatred takes over.

Please, let us lower the volume and be civil toward one another. For Jeff's sake. And for all of ours.

by Elaine Holstein
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/05/03-1

 
At 5/04/2010 10:38:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.wytv.com/content/news/local/story/Kent-State-Vigil-Honors-Victims/-BE3ZdTQVkSxv3rsSdqIpQ.cspx

Tuesday is a solemn day at Kent State University. It was exactly 40 years ago that the Ohio National Guard opened fire during a protest, killing four students and injuring nine others.

Carole Barbato is a Youngstown native and one of three Kent State faculty members who is responsible for the placement of the May 4th, 1970 shooting site on the National Register of Historic Places. "We knew, always knew that this was an important part of American history, those of us that are connected to Kent State," said Barbato.

In addition to the National Register of Historic Places plaque, the university now offers a walking tour of May 4th with markers at seven relevant sites on the campus where Guard members opened fire on student protesting the Vietnam War. Laura Davis, a Kent State Professor and a student at the time of the shootings, says the official recognition of the event acknowledges its impact both nationally and internationally. "This is really an event of enduring meaning in U.S. history, as well as in the lives of individuals. It changed military policy, it helped bring the Vietnam War to a faster conclusion, by changing the way Americans thought about the war," Davis said.

Fundraising for the Kent State May 4 Visitors Center is currently underway. The university seeks to raise $1.5 million to create a museum in a campus building overlooking the area. "We still need to learn from what happened on our campus and what we're hoping to in this visitor's center is to teach those lessons," Barbato explained.


For 23-year-old Kent State senior, Isaac Miller, it's about activism. Miller is a former member of the May 4 Task Force, the university's student-run organization. "For me, what I always remember is, not just that they died, but what they died for and because of." Milller says a joint effort between a community who remembers and students who care will carry on the memorial's tradition. Miller says it's not just a moment to remember in history, but a moment to remember things need to change now and there's a lot of work to do.

 
At 5/04/2010 11:47:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember where I was that day....I had just returned home to New York from college in Ann Arbor to begin my summer job at the local record store. The news spread like wildfire, even without internet, email and cable tv. We all wore black armbands at work the entire next week and the music we played in the store reflected our anger. Four years later --May 4, 1974 -- I was sworn in as a lawyer to the Colorado bar and began my career as a defender of constitutional rights and the accused. Without a doubt, the draft lottery, the Vietnam war, LBJ, Hubert Humphrey and Richard Nixon were factors in my choice, and I'm proud to say I've never once looked back to question it.

 
At 5/04/2010 12:00:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jFbf3KPkp8
Ohio by CSNY

 
At 5/04/2010 12:29:00 PM, Blogger RICK RANGEL said...

Thrasher; it's this kind of stuff that makes this website what it is today. I have been spellbound by the comments on what happened 40 years ago today,especially by the mother of one of the slain students.Those of us who have always known what the song is about will never forget those four.

 
At 5/04/2010 01:03:00 PM, Anonymous Jonathan said...

Is it correct to assume that the yardage listed alongside the names of the fallen is/was the distance the bullets traveled? Just curious if you could clarify Thrasher.

Peace.

 
At 5/04/2010 02:09:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher said...

Thanks Rick. Yes, compelling memories.

Jonathan - Yes, the # of yards is distance between tin soldiers and dead student's bodies.

 
At 5/04/2010 02:24:00 PM, Anonymous James48 said...

As a 21-year military veteran, and former member of the National Guard, I can tell you that event changed history in this nation in many, many ways. I was only ten years old when Kent State happened- but it affected my life and my military career as well.

Not only was Kent State a tragedy for the students killed and wounded, but also a tragedy for the members of the military, who found themselves questioning what on earth was going on. Remember, those who served that day in uniform were also scared, young kids, who did what they had been trained to do at the time. Formal training on how to handle civil unrest was not a part of the normal training of the National Guard at the time.

The lesson learned included a fundamental rethinking within the military of how to handle civil unrest. The best thinkers within the services rewrote the book, and began training National Guard military members during entry to duty in how to deal with civil unrest in a much more humane and conscientious way. The Kent State tragedy was a gut-wrenching experience for all military members. I invite you here to read the comments from the other side of that day.

http://www.spectacle.org/996/kentr.html

Yes- it was a day that changed the lives of those killed and wounded. And changed a lot of other things as well.

I will always remember.

James

 
At 5/04/2010 02:43:00 PM, Anonymous Jonathan said...

Thanks Thrasher. Looking forward to hopefully having a few beers with you on the 24th. Less than three weeks to go.

Thanks to everyone who has shared so many memories and as always to Thrasher for hosting this site.

 
At 5/04/2010 03:24:00 PM, Anonymous Number9Dream said...

I remember how the killings at Kent State pushed a large number of my high school classmates, who were politically middle-of-the-road, much further toward the anti-war, anti-establishment end of the spectrum.

Parents of college students were upset and angry to think that their children could be shot dead walking across campus.

In the days following May 4th, there were many demonstrations at colleges and even high schools condemning the shootings at Kent State.

As with any history, by remembering this senseless tragedy, hopefully, we can prevent it from happening again.

 
At 5/04/2010 04:03:00 PM, Anonymous swansong said...

Peace to those left behind, grace to those responsible, and love to those lost.

 
At 5/04/2010 04:03:00 PM, Anonymous chrisy58 said...

My heart goes out to all the families who lost a loved one that awful day. I was 12 years old when Kent State happen and I know that what happen there helped shaped me into the woman I am today.

There was alot of youth in this country who opposed the Viet Nam War. There was lots of protests being held on colleges all around the nation. What Law did the students break that would justify calling the National Guard to silence them?

While I was to young to know boys in my age group going to WAR, we still opposed this war and wanted to bring the boys home.

It is true that soldiers themselves were spit on which is not right because many of them didn’t want to be there either but were drafted. I am happy to see that today we don’t treat the soldiers as enemies but the men who sent them to war are the people we are targeting. You know George Bush and President Obama who are sending our troops over to fight a war that many Americans don’t think we should be fighting.

We must let the students who died that terrible day encourage and inspire us to never give up or stop fighting and speaking out for the issues that are important to us. Let them not die in vain, but let them be an example of courage. We must be willing to fight for the Bill of Rights and the Constitution and never give up our freedom.

40 years later we are seeing our rights being slowly taken away from us by such Laws as the American Patriot Act. Our government spies on American citizens and can even hold them without a trial by just branding them a terriorist. Our nation has committed torture on prisoners. We are once again caught up in a WAR that the American people do not want us fighting.

When we first went into Iraq people would look at me as I was crazy because I said that this Iraq war would turn out just like Viet Nam. They told me no, it is a just war and we must be there. Yet, now these same people are saying the same thing as I am and what many Americans are feeling about this Iraq war.

Only a fool says they aren’t afraid to face danger, but a brave man knows he could die but he is willing to fight for the moral imperative because he knows that someone has to be willing to stand up and fight. A man with courage faces his fear and moves forward anyway.

Our country is at a crossroads today. Our future depends on what road we take. Do we take the same ole same ole road and continue on our suicide path or do we take the hard road and fight knowing that we might die for standing up to those who would want to take away our freedom and twist our Constitution and Bill of Rights to fit their narrow view of the world. I have always chosen the hard road the road of hard knocks. I tend to not back down from the truth.

I believe the students that died at Kent State would want us to fight against a government who is out of control and who is leading us down a path that will leave the next generation of Americans enslaved to the countries who hold our high debts. China, Iran, and Russia are getting stronger and we are getting weaker because our government doesn’t care about the future that the children today will have when they become adults. They will have every right to curse us because we didn’t stand up and fight against the evil corruption that is overpowering our government. When are Progressive men going to start fighting to save this country from falling off the cliff of no return?

Chris

 
At 5/04/2010 04:52:00 PM, Anonymous Jonathan said...

Wow Chris - good stuff there and well said. It seems like you came around to the notion that the Constitution is being ignored and "twisted" to fit a narrow view of the world. I could not agree more - that's EXACTLY what is happening today with our "leaders".

I don't want to turn this into a right vs. left thing because both parties pick and choose what they deem appropriate in the Constitution to fit their own agendas.

But your last paragraph is spot on in describing our current "leadership" that was elected in 2008 on a promise of "change". Yea I see the change all right. Public debt run up sky high to the point where we'll never be able to pay it back. I have two young children under the age of ten and it scares me to think of what our great nation may look like when they're my age.

Not to mention the endless war. I agree most Americans would rather not be in any wars. But when our country is attacked, what are we supposed to do? No easy answers there in my opinion.

The government was out of control back on May 4, 1970.

The government is out of control in 2010. Period.

 
At 5/04/2010 05:01:00 PM, Anonymous Jonathan said...

Chris - one more point if you will. What is today's "Progressive men" as you put it?

The only thing/philosophy that's going to stop this country from falling off the cliff is conservatism. The USA started going off course a long time ago. Saying no to bailouts, endless entitlements, and endless spending is the only way out. Of course that's just fiscal matters.

On the war front, I won't pretend to have the answer as to how to end that. War is as old as humanity and it's been a damn shame the entire time every time. Look to the Lord/Great Spirit/deep within all of us. Only He can see the future.

Peace on the Spirit Road.

 
At 5/04/2010 05:25:00 PM, Anonymous Kaleigh said...

Here i sit, listening to Ohio. I am sixteen years old, and already I am given a great does of growing up. Our country is not always right, the place that i live for my life, is far from being perfect. & it's apalling to hear about the National Guard shooting those students. Jeffrey Miller, Allison Krause, William Schroeder, and Sandra Scheuer I am not in college yet, they were older than i am now, but yet, i try to put myself in their position. In many ways gives me courage to stand up for what I believe in. as you can see, they did not die in vain. Peace. Not War.

Kaleigh

 
At 5/04/2010 05:47:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have no words for the loss expressed here. It is too painful to imagine. I can only thank you, Mrs. Holstein, for your courage and wish your whole family the best.

I do not believe much of what is happening is authentic, anymore than violence within the peace movement or civil rights movement turned out to be real. It was arranged by the government to undermine both groups. We only need remember that the white working class churches from the Midwest who went down to help after Katrina or the realize how many Southern churches welcome Hispanics and are helping in Haiti to realize we are good people here, however imperfect.

Civility is not passive. It is a force. Ask those who have most changed the world for the better - Gandhi, King and Mandela.

Gandhi did not seek justice but truth, and love. Tutu brought South Africa truth and reconciliation panels after apartheid. King never sought to punish anyone.

When restraint and courtesy are added to strength, the latter becomes irresistible.
Mohandas Gandhi

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.
Mohandas Gandhi

When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall - think of it, ALWAYS. --Mahatma Gandhi

The world owes a great deal to your son and the three other young people at Kent State who saved untold lives by what happened to them.

Wshing you the very best, Mrs. Holstein.

- moore

 
At 5/04/2010 05:48:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't grow up in the Kent State era, however, I was raised on the music of CSN&Y and the belief that social justice and standing up what's right is tantamount. In college I did a project on protest music during the Vietnam era. Much to my chagrin, my group members wondered why I was so passionate about including "Ohio" in our focus.

Are we so far removed from standing up for what's right that we can't hear the merit and raw emotion in pieces of art such as this? If that's true, than we've learned nothing and will be traveling back to that era wraught with turbulence; not to mention we've been desensitized to the value of human life and the hurt caused by its loss.

Neil Young created a masterpiece that should be included with academic study of this period in history. Thanks for having the nerve to put it all out there for the consumption of the human heart!

BB

 
At 5/04/2010 09:23:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live near Washington in the UK. I was 16 when the four were killed. I got wound up in some of the demonstrations in London at the time, but due to my age didn’t really have a great understanding of what was going on.

When tracking down the lyrics to the song, like many others, I stumbled across this site and was reminded of their tragic loss. Their deaths do make some of us think, but our leaders continue to make the same mistakes around the world and we continue to kill our own: What we (the British) did in Ireland; How the world propped up apartheid for so many years and our current interference in the Far East.

I visited Auschwitz earlier this year, there are times when no words can describe man’s inhumanity to man. God bless those four and help us to care more for our fellow man.

Steve

 
At 5/04/2010 09:39:00 PM, Anonymous CLAY JENKINSON said...

My parents were so upset over the Kent State shootings that my father never really got over it. I was 15 years old. As soon as it was published, we ordered James Michener's outstanding "Kent State: What Happened and Why?" and took turns reading it. Although Michener makes it clear that there was fault and provocation on both sides, my father just couldn't understand how firing live bullets into a crowd of students could ever be justified-period. It is clear from all subsequent studies of the incident, official and unofficial, that the Guardsmen were in no danger. The protestors were armed only with epithets and a few rocks, and they were so completely mingled with innocent university students moving from one class to another that it was impossible to determine who was a threat to public order and who was just trying to get to chemistry lab. The four slain students were standing at an average distance of 345 feet from the nearest Guardsman, and the closest, Jeffrey Miller, was fully 265 feet away.

The Vietnam War had come home to the American heartland. Now, as my father saw it, we weren't just killing an enemy we didn't understand in a faraway jungle on the other side of the world, but gunning down our own college students who were observing their First Amendment rights to protest what they regarded as a pointless and unjust war.

Forty years have passed.

I don't blame the individual Guardsmen who fired those rounds on their M-1 rifles that day. They were young, frightened, poorly trained, and exhausted. They had been redeployed to the campus directly from Cleveland, where they had spent the previous days trying to restore order during a tense and bloody Teamster's Strike. Their nerves were jangled and what they needed more than anything else was sleep. They were put into an impossible situation by their superiors, including a strategically impossible situation at the bottom of a hill on the Kent State campus, from which any retreat looked like . . . well, a retreat.

But I do blame the officer(s) who gave the order to shoot, and who put bullets in those guns.

And I blame Ohio Governor James A. Rhodes for ordering the National Guard to the Kent State campus and then enflaming an already volatile situation by publicly calling the protesters "un-American." At a news conference on May 3, Governor Rhodes declared that the protestors were bent on destroying higher education in Ohio. "They're worse than the brown shirts and the communist element and also the night riders and the vigilantes," he said. "They're the worst type of people that we harbor in America. I think that we're up against the strongest, well-trained, militant, revolutionary group that has ever assembled in America."

At the time of these incendiary-and patently absurd-pronouncements, Rhodes was running for the U.S. Senate in Ohio. He had decided that his best prospect for winning the Republican primary on May 6, 1970, was to take a hard line on the anti-war movement. Had there been no pending election, Governor Rhodes might have responded to the disorders at Kent State with good sense rather than inflammatory denunciations.

Just a few weeks ago, on February 23, 2010, a 17-acre portion the Kent State campus was added to of the National Register of Historic Places as the Kent State Shooting Site.

 
At 5/04/2010 10:56:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Meet the new boss....same as the old boss.

"Dont need no more lies" -Neil Young

 
At 5/05/2010 03:11:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It’s an honor to share this space with all of the posters here, especially Mrs. Holstein, whose measured response is truly inspirational. Encouraging too, because of the obvious lessons learned. The Kent State shootings have always been a personal embarrassment for me, because at the time I absolutely fell into the “they probably deserved it” camp, and its companion sentiment, “had they not been protesting when they weren’t supposed to be, nothing would have happened.” I was about 11 at the time, the product of a very conservative community, and would not hear “Ohio” for years to come. We were so sheltered at the time, that it took a new friend and his mother, transplants from another state, for me to hear my first anti-Vietnam sentiments from someone I actually knew. Even my fellow Nixon loving friends laughed at my thick headedness on the subject. But then Watergate hit, and everything I had ever believed in became subject to doubt, bringing me face to face with my ignorance. “Ohio” cemented things for me still further.

For me now it’s a matter of awareness. I had my views relative to my exposure at the time, protesters came to their views based on their exposure to a newer, revolutionary awareness. And then there were those who were caught in between, who were getting there gradually, but needed one more push to cross over. This is one of the more crucial effects of Kent State, and to a lesser extent “Ohio”. The event shocked a lot of people into finally accepting what they had already begun to suspect on their own- that things were spiraling out of control, and that there simply wasn’t enough righteous basis to the war to counter the suspicion. I attended a lecture a while back describing the social significance of Neil’s songs, and “Ohio” received a lot of attention. I’ll never forget the ravaged expression on the face of a Vietnam war vet there, who described his emotions when he first heard the song in country. Already in a state of agitation when confronted with his own involvement in the war, he very nearly lost his faith in America on the spot, and described to just what extent the songs images haunted him for years to come.

The song, then as now, is inspired confirmation driven home in the most unambiguous of all ways, through music, imagery, and above all, the power of words. Those words will never grow stale, no matter how many times they’re repeated, and no matter what era they are applied to. “What if you knew her, and found her dead on the ground?” Has a more chilling question ever been uttered in song form? How about “We’re finally on our own?” Has the truth of this statement ever been more relevant than it is for the world we occupy right now? I won’t get into all the reasons why I think this is so, but sad to say, we’ve lost a lot of steam. Never mind our “elected” officials, there is precious little to protect us from the direction this country is headed. Riot police and SWAT teams crushing anti-WTO demonstrations before they even get started, crushing ear drums with noise weapons, a complicit media branding the protesters as anarchists, or under reporting demonstrator numbers, if they report them at all. Or “restless consumers” captivated by “bread and circuses”.

Thanks Thrasher for the post, and for a reminder that the work is not finished, that we cannot allow the “four dead” to die in vain. Thanks for shining a spotlight on a song and an event that serve very effectively to remind us all once again: “How can you run when you know?”

Greg M (A Friend Of Yours)

 
At 5/05/2010 09:48:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was a few hundred miles away in my hometown in WVA. i remember that my first news came with some disinformation . A local College prof . told me that there had been a ”shootout ” at Kent State between National Guardsmen and Students (!!!) and at least four had been killed .

I don’t think the Prof was being deliberately misleading . He was a decent liberal and opposed to the war . But such was his fear of ‘revoluntaries ” that he didn’t immediately reject (as i did ) this highly unlikely story as the right wing bullshit spin that it was .

4 killed 9 (? ) wounded and no one did any prison time for this brutal crime . No surprise for those of us on the Socialist Left but worth mentioning to those who maintain illusions .

Seamus

 
At 5/05/2010 03:14:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was 12 years old when this happened. The entire 60's movement affected my whole life in such a profound way. I'm actually more than glad I grew up with the backdrop of this changing era always in my rear view window. It allowed me to challenge authority and think for myself--and that's all those Kent State students were doing.
The spray of bullets on them was just wrong--there's no other way to slice it. You can make it complicated and put up as many smoke screens as you want, including empathizing with those "poor national guardsmen." But, they were each culpable for their actions--including the murder of innocent people. Being tired and exhausted is some excuse for murder. No, I have no sympathy for them. I empathize with those poor families who lost children for no good reason. Just an action based on insanity. Those kids had no guns or knives. I bet those rocks they threw really scared those "poor" guardsmen with their deadly rifles. Right. Tragic event.
And, my heart goes out to the families of the dead and injured.

 
At 5/05/2010 03:32:00 PM, Anonymous Mr Henry said...

Elaine Holstein...you are a sweet and loving mother. No parent should ever have to bear such a loss, but you are a testament to the triumph of love and the true eternal spirit.

To think that this horrible thing actually happened? I remember like yesterday standing in our living room while the CBS News was on and hearing Walter Cronkite announce that four students had been killed at Kent State. Just a few months earlier, he was watching a moon landing...now he's telling me what?!

Your boy has remained in my thoughts and prayers for these many years, along with Allison, Sandy and Bill. I find it very inspiring to read your healing words and I hope that this helps you on your journey.

"...he is forever Bobby now, a romping boy lost to time...."
Don DeLillo from Pafko at the Wall

"This is how we understand everything, and how we live in this world. This kind of experience is something beyond our thinking."
Suzuki Roshi from Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

 
At 5/05/2010 04:04:00 PM, Anonymous Betty P. said...

This was one of the saddest days in our history. I'll never forget it. It tore at my heart and created a keen awareness that we were far from a perfect nation. I no longer buried my head in the sand - I became involved to try to make it better. I was no longer content with doing nothing and letting the chips fall where they may.

 
At 5/06/2010 10:19:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was at the 40th commemoration services etc. I actually held my own music memorial at "Partially Buried Woodshed". I am a 25 year old student at Kent State and my future-father in law was being shot at that fateful day. He had not been up to Kent since the day they asked him to leave in 1970 (a few days after the shootings) because of his involvement in SDS. He couldn't even listen to "Ohio" for many many years. It was a very emotional day overall and for him to come back and see that the memorial is not in a freaking parking lot is just devastating. It was devastating for me and I wasn't even there. It's just so cold and unfeeling. A lot of the speakers there were talking about the fact that no one has yet appologized for what happened and the lethargy of the current generation. I completely agree with that. The sad part of it was, was that most of the people attending the ceremonies that day were of older generations. It is hard to live in a generation where people just don't care about important things. However, I was proud to be part of the protest that was going on when Black Panther Bobby Seale was speaking - BUS (Black United Students) organized a protest against the profiling in Arizona, and silently protested while Mr. Seale was speaking in respect. It was a great moment, but you don't hear about that sort of thing. I live in this area (obviously) and no one reported on it. In fact, they dropped the whole thing the very next day. What a load of crap! People just don't care, but May 4th was and still is a huge deal

 
At 5/06/2010 03:55:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neil Young is a musical genius, but he dropped the ball on "Ohio." Nixon had nothing to do with the Ohio National Guard and their actions. Each state's National Guard is commanded by the Governor, in this case, Gov. Jim Rhodes. Rhodes did so only after pleas from Kent's Mayor, Leroy Satrom. And Satrom reacted to not-so-innocent rioting and destruction by students and others in the town and the burning of the ROTC Building on campus. Pretty out-of-control, huh? In fact, a story about the new release of archives through the Washington Post reveals that there were a couple of pistol shots fired into the direction of the Guard before they shot in response, and that account came from a student witness! Ah, the fog of conflict. Hey grownups, authority isn't in the wrong all the time. So for Neil Young failing to get proper perspective and fact-finding, he does a lib knee-jerk and blames Nixon because he's a Republican. Nixon futilely tried to win a war started by Democrats Kennedy and Johnson, who did nothing to win it, who just dumped hundreds of thousands of our young men into a hellhole with no direction and inadequate, thankless support. It's Kennedy and Johnson whose souls are hopefully burning in hell.
As for the dead students and their families, I feel some sympathy. Some. But if I was there and saw soldiers with guns marching, I would not have stuck around. Picture yourself there, reader. Would you? That's inviting trouble. Any of you that try to argue the truth here are just delusional wishful thinkers not dealing with reality. And reality s*cks sometimes.

 
At 5/07/2010 11:57:00 AM, Anonymous Catherine O'Kelly said...

Forty years ago, after the Kent State killings, our governor [Reagan] closed all the college campuses, worried that there would be riots. We kept our college open and had a spontaneous peace conference with invited officials, and we even marched downtown with protest banners [private college, first and last time they ever did that]. Where are we now? It breaks my heart that tens of thousands can protest on the National Mall and yet there is no mention on the TV news. We can meet in San Francisco for a huge march up Market Street and not get any press coverage. This is why there is violence in a demonstration. That is the only way to get media attention. Isn't that sad? I hate what our country has become. The corporations are in control. Look on the Lockheed or Boeing websites and you will be shocked at the military madness. Are we the world's biggest arms merchants? You betcha! Drones that kill in Afghanistan by buttons pushed in Nevada? Shocking. Torture, extraordinary rendition? Shocking. Tea party idiots who protest any taxation? And half are on Medicare? What a joke. I'm glad that the state of Ohio, and Kent State University has observed this terrible anniversary. But what of the rest of the nation? We must never, ever forget. Thank you for this "blog" and for your website.

 
At 5/07/2010 12:26:00 PM, Anonymous rustedstevie said...

I remember it well. I was 2nd year at the University of Minnesota and we wre protesting the Camobodia invasion in front of the student union when it was announced what had taken place. I remeber the anger and how it steeled my opposition to the war. I would have gone to Canada if I had not "won" on the draft lottery.

The resulting student strike really affected my studies and may be the reason I am a social worker now and not a chemist as planned (GPA slippage)

thank you neil

 
At 5/09/2010 12:52:00 AM, Blogger Joe Rinehart - SEO Optimizer said...

New analysis of 40-year-old recording of Kent State shootings reveals that Ohio Guard was given an order to prepare to fire

http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2010/05/new_analysis_of_40-year-old_re.html

 
At 5/09/2010 06:09:00 PM, Anonymous Rick McGirr said...

Sorry I'm a couple of days late.

It was also haunting to remember the day. It was pivotal in my outlook, in that I, and our whole generation, found out that the flowers that we were putting in the barrels of the National Guard guns would not stop the bullets, and that some of the people with the guns did indeed see us as enemies and were willing to aim at our naive hearts and fire.

My admiration goes out to those still willing to speak for seeking alternatives to war. Anti-war movements are among the most suppressed these days. It's harder to demonstrate, harder to win public office on a peace platform, and it seems there are no politicians who are not on the war bandwagon. Perhaps it's just human nature or something.

The peace movement's voice seems like it's under a pillow, but I hope it will keep speaking out.

 
At 5/11/2010 01:50:00 PM, Anonymous Archie said...

Those four young people are national treasures and should be remembered with a monument or some fitting memorial. My problem has always been that there are a number of murderers out there unpunished and free.

 
At 6/03/2010 10:32:00 PM, Anonymous jerrymacgp said...

I was all of 11 years old when this tragic event happened in the United States, and even at such a young age, as a Canadian I was shocked to learn of it. Ever since, I have always been fascinated by the fact that one of the most poignant and moving musical commentaries on the Vietnam era was written by a Canadian and not by an American.

 
At 7/24/2010 05:57:00 AM, Blogger Charles Izquierdo RN said...

what holds meaning for me is how it shaped my philosophy and what it is i teach my own children that there is nothing wrong with the question why, or how come or even why not, please god may we never know such fear again and as i have heard this song ohio a million times the intro haunts me slows me down takes my mind off whatever im doing ruins my concentration, then as the lyrics begin, i begin to find my center neil my white fiber tracts in my cerebrum absolutely thrum when this masterpiece roll out through the speakers. you have always managed to take me to the exact spot im supposed to be in if only for a few moments i dont know if i should thank you or not

 
At 8/15/2010 04:57:00 AM, Blogger gary said...

The Kent State Massacre occured four months before my 16th birthday. I was profoundly impacted by that tragic event, as was the Nation. At the time my brother Tom was serving in Vietnam and I had already lost two first cousins there. I only later came to realize that it was the mold of Kent State from which I emerged. It was at that moment in history that I accepted the duty to stand for right regardless of the consequences. There have been several instances since that time when I have had to take that stand. Sometimes at great personal peril. David Crosby commented that Neil Young evoking Nixon's name in the song "Ohio" was the "bravest thing he ever saw". That may be true, but I found peace in the decision I made that day forty years ago in May, and solace in Neil Youngs' lyrics. My only fear is that of the consequences of running away. My only regret is that this Nation has taken a different path, and I only hope that it may find its way back.

gvr

 
At 3/19/2011 12:01:00 AM, Blogger Rob Egan said...

I really appreciate the heartfelt and in depth information about the massacre and CSNY's song. I sometimes wonder if we are really so far away from such brutality happening again and whether the thin veneer of civility in America is about to crack again and the more subtle forms of control give way to intimidation and murder. I've set up Great Protest Songs with videos of protest songs in tribute to all those fighting oppression. http://www.greatprotestsongs.com/

 
At 9/09/2011 01:36:00 PM, Blogger Jeanine Hull said...

The Washington Post just ran a front page story, i believe it was on Labor Day, September 5, 2011, that noted that we are now in a permanent war. No longer are we in Iraq for a reason (even if only because SH tried to kill Shrub's dad), but we just won't get out. The protests now are no more than whispers...everyone is so afraid of being called unpatriotic, or communist or liberal or the worst, feminazi... I fear that we do not remember how bad things were and are acting like the frog in the pot over the fire--we'll be dead before we catch on to our loss of liberties, democracy and even an economic system with any kind of integrity. I cannot get this song out of my head...Thank you for maintaining the truth.

 
At 9/20/2011 01:48:00 PM, Blogger Zorbis said...

I'm 65 and was forced into the military with threats of jail, deportation. I was a non-conformist that did not fair well in the military. I was just leaving the military when this happened. The enlisted men were solidly against the war by 1970. Also some officers but they were afraid to voice their opinion.
The enlisted said what they felt and without fear of reprisal. Without us, nothing worked.
My heart has always hurt for the "4".

 
At 2/21/2012 01:45:00 PM, Anonymous David Marsh said...

From an organisation concerned with the killing of the innocent,our best wishes and thanks from us all at http://www.tomthumb.info/tt/ Thank you.

 
At 5/07/2012 10:59:00 AM, Anonymous Bennett Hall said...

Another four lives were ended when our goverment decided that we the people should have limited rights. We should not be killed for protesting when we are within the law. Some protest I do not agree with, but I believe that our voices should be heard even when we are wrong.

 
At 7/15/2012 03:37:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I think your article missed it. The line "we are finally on our own" meant the polar opposite of what is stated. It wasn't about the freedom and independence of being in college. It was a statement that there was now a clear divide between the old and the new. Before, we had privileged kids protesting against their privileged parents. Once Kent State happened, it was clear that incremental change was no longer possible--this was a sea change. Not us wanting them to change, but us v. them. The older generation willing to kill the younger generation to protect its interests. How sad, then, that the 60s generation chose to capitulate and become their parents. I can understand their parents--confused, fearful, brainwashed by the authorities into believing what was fed them. But I can never forgive the 60s generation for not having the guts to continue what they started.

 
At 5/11/2013 03:40:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I was 20 when I heard Ohio and sitting in a bean bag talking about the lyrics and the Vietnam / Kampuchea (Cambodia)situation. In Australia some of us thought it was a war between the USSR and the USA over global influence. Now the USSR has imploded and there is only one empire...the USA and those "allies" who aren't overtly critical of the way things are heading now. I went on to 'teach our children well' as the CSNY song requested. I'm now 63 and still remain optimistic, but understand that when our own citizens speak out, then the powerful had better understand that they are being put on notice that they can't fool all the people all the time. Those 4 Kent State martyrs sent a message to the world. That message was be prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for a better world. Neal's lyrics remind me of that message every time I hear them. Today 43 years later, I bought a cd of the original master mixes which includes Ohio for only
AU$9.00! My family and I listened to it in the car as we drove home to our house in the hills. : ) Peace!

 
At 7/20/2013 01:00:00 PM, Blogger roy rodgers said...

4 dead in Benghazi.....same thing happening now, govt out of control,Neil needs to write another one

 

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