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Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Ohio and Freedom

Thrasher's Wheat highlighted on Neil Young's

"When OHIO was written 40 years ago it was a thing done on instinct.

I felt moved to do it and I'm glad I had Crosby Stills and Nash there with me. 40 years later I feel the same way. It was all just too real and that hasn't changed. To those who knew the 4 and survived to see today, I say peace and love be with you.

- Neil Young

For the 40th anniversary of the Kent State tragedy, Neil Young made a statement on his "LIVING WITH WAR TODAY" website on the song "Ohio" he recorded with Crosby, Stills, & Nash that went on to become an anthem to a generation.

The LIVING WITH WAR TODAY website also reprints a letter by the mother of slain student Jeffrey Miller -- one of the four dead in Ohio. If you have not read her heart wrenching letter yet, we urge you to do so.

Also, the LWW page highlight's Thrasher's Wheat post on the anniversary. So that's kinda cool although this is one of the saddest things we've ever blogged...

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".

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.

"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.


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?

Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young

YouTube - Neil Young - Ohio [Live At Massey Hall 1971] (Video)

Graphic by Geoff Moore, Silver Moon

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

And we've received quite a few comments over the years on "Ohio". Here's a comment on 40 Years Since 4 Dead in Ohio: Kent State Massacre Remembered by Greg M.:
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)

Thanks Greg!

So were the lessons of Vietnam learned in "Ohio"?

Well. Last we checked, We're. Still. Living. With. War.

Fire in the Heartland

Next week marks the 40th Anniversary of the tragedy of the Kent State Massacre.

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

Immediately after the Kent State shooting on May 4, 1970, Neil Young composed the song "Ohio" after looking at photos appearing in Life magazine and then taking a walk in the woods. Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young went to the studio and recorded the song which was released to radio stations shortly after the killings.

The film Fire in the Heartland: Kent State, May 4th, and Student Protest in America is the story of a generation of students at Kent State University, who believed in the 1960s and 1970s that they were not being told he truth about racism, the violence of police and military against protestors, and the long American involvement in the Vietnam War; some paid for their questioning of authority with their lives and all were forever changed.

Fire in the Heartland: Kent State, May 4th, and Student Protest in America is a documentary film about a generation of young people, who stood up to speak their minds against social injustice in some of our nation’s most turbulent and transformative years, the 1960s through the 1970s. On May 4th, 1970, thirteen of these young Americans were shot down by the National Guard in an act of violence against unarmed students that has never been fully explained. Four, Jeffery Miller, Sandy Scheuer, Bill Shroeder and Allison Krause, were killed.

Immediately afterward the largest student strikes and student protests in history swept across 3,000 campuses nationwide.

DominoesMovie — July 16, 2009 — "Ohio" (antiwar anthem) - Neil Young / CSNY singing Vietnam War protest music

For more on the four dead in Ohio, see Fire in the Heartland and Neil Young's influential song with Crosby, Stills & Nash "Ohio".


Neil Young, "Ohio" solo. Shea's Performing Arts Center. Buffalo, NY May 19th 2010, Youtube video by phishphun

Historical Marker for
Kent State, Ohio Massacre - May 4, 1970


More on finding the cost of freedom.

UPDATE: Comment of the Moment: Freedom in a New Year

"The revolution will not be televised"
... it will be blogged, streamed,
tweeted, shared and liked

Revolution in Tahrir Square
Cairo, Egypt - February 12, 2011

Twitter / @RepStones

Wisconsin: Keep on Rockin' in the Free World
30,000 Protesters in Madison, Wisconsin Capitol - Feb 17, 2011

Twitter / @Marti : R @manyko2 For @sdpdx Rock ...

Rebel in Libya - 3/23/11

Demonstrators in Syria - 4/20/11

A revised take on Neil Young's sixties anthem, "Ohio", performed by the Mellow Yellow Experience and featuring Congo-born rapper, Cadoux Fancy of Mic Criminals. As violent changes sweep the Middle East in 2011, the comparisons to the U. S. protests in the 1960s can not be avoided. Wael Ghonim is right: this is "Revolution 2.0"

Leia's Daddy

"There's one more kid that will never go to school
Never get to fall in love, never get to be cool."

freedom. not just another word.

ps - riddle us this... The American Dream: how could something so good, go so bad, so fast?

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At 5/04/2011 01:29:00 PM, Anonymous Thomas 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.


At 5/04/2011 04:13:00 PM, Anonymous Mother Nature on the Run, Again said...

Hey, speak for yourself, man!

I see plenty of young and old people today who are just as passionate about their beliefs and just as active in developing sustainable outreach programs that provide for human needs as there were during the days before the Kent State/Jackson State Massacres.

We will never control the actions of what other people do or don't do. We only have control over our own actions.

That mutual collectivism that inspires progress within societies begins with you.

What are you willing to do?

At 5/04/2011 05:39:00 PM, Blogger Jesse said...

I just passed "Zuma" on the way into Detroit from Ohio for the show tonight. I got so excited, I couldn't help but honk my horn a few times as we passed. I hope I didnt wake home up or anything. I got the chills knowing that he was RIGHT THERE in the next lane. Sitting about 12 rows back at the fox tonigt. Can't wait! Enjoy everyone!!

Jesse, Ohio

At 5/04/2011 08:31:00 PM, Blogger SONY said...

5/19/10 Buffalo - Thanks for the refresher Trasher. That's a great angle and recording of a very memorable performance. Hadn't seen or heard that in a while.


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