May 4th, 1970

Fifty years ago today … I remember it more vividly than I remember yesterday. Kent State. The tragedy of the year, perhaps of the decade. Have we learned? Are we better today? I think not. Thank you, Jeff, for sharing your memories of that tragic, brutal day. 😥

On The Fence Voters

I’ll never forget coming home from elementary school on the afternoon of May 4, 1970. Only eight years old at the time, I hadn’t heard about the tragedy that occurred only a couple of hours earlier, 20 minutes up the road from my hometown of Akron, Ohio, at Kent State University. Four students were slaughtered and nine more were wounded when the Ohio National Guard opened fire at 12:24 pm while attempting to disburse several thousand protestors that had gathered on the commons to protest the Vietnam War.

I’m not quite sure who it was that told me, but I assume it was one of my older siblings. I remember the sadness and I certainly remember the anger. My oldest brother was hurt the most. He’d been a vocal opponent of the war and if not for a later nervous breakdown, he would have been on his way to fight…

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19 thoughts on “May 4th, 1970

  1. Salutary share Jill.
    Remember this one

    I was down in Nashville just payin’ my dues
    Headed for Ohio when I read the news
    ‘Bout the people demonstrating ‘gainst the President’s views
    Four were shot down by the National Guard troops
    Just like Uncle Sam I put on my fighting shoes
    School shot down cause there’s no more to lose
    Now we’re headed to D.C. two by twos
    Cause those low down, profound, killin’ four blues
    Lookin’ for my Congressman to make it well known
    But the politicians already won’t answer his telephone
    Making in his office while they’re shooting kids down at home
    Worried about the voters but he won’t be worried long
    Silent majority still glued to the tube
    Say CIA ain’t lookin’, FBI come unglued
    Shot some more in Jackson just to show the world what they can do
    While we’re marching to D.C. cause there’s too much to do
    Give peace a chance
    Give peace a chance
    There’s no turnin’ back my friend
    There’s no turnin’ back
    When the President said that the tear gas is gone
    The army’s pulled out leavin’ blood on the ground
    The streets are empty and the crying’s died down
    You can be President if no one’s around
    Just like Kow Kow*, you’ve heard it before
    Get back gangster, don’t you open that door
    Space Cowboy’*s back to tell you the score
    Nothing any good is gonna come from a war
    Got those low down, profound, killin’ four blues
    Give peace a chance
    Give peace a chance
    Give peace a chance

    *Reference Miller’s Third Album ‘Brave New World’

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, I remember. A defining moment, certainly, even here in the UK. But most of those who vehemently support Trump are probably too young to remember it themselves, or the Vietnam War. The problem with learning lessons is that two generations later the incidents and events that teach those lessons are forgotten as so many people were born too late to experience them. Then we need another event, sadly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re so right, Mick. When I question why we cannot seem to learn the lessons of history, I realize that as we move further and further from the events that defined an era, a generation, it becomes less personal for each generation and pretty soon it is just something the high school history teacher makes them learn, not a real event with real people. Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It was ever thus. And as we move further and further into a world where events move faster and faster, and changes from one generation to the next become ever more extreme, I think that is highly dangerous.

        Liked by 1 person

        • You’re right … I remember my paternal grandparents, Jews who were survivors of the Holocaust, telling of their experiences, and my father, who fought in WWII, telling of his, and it was so very real to me. But, it was less real when I retold the stories to my children, and to my only grandchild, it is but a story. And, as you say, technology is leaving history in its dust. Sigh.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Kent State, Anti-Vietnam protests, Civil Rights protests with the klan marching down the streets of Washington DC, both Kennedy’s, MLK, Malcolm X assassinations, Watergate, and all the other stuff we lived through in the 60’s and 70’s. But we came through it to the era of greed is good which really screwed us up.

    Simply wow.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, in the 50s, 60s and early 70s we thought we were moving toward a better world, one of tolerance and understanding, one of brotherly love. Sadly, greed and arrogance took the reins and turned this nation into something toxic and ugly.


  4. I was finishing up my freshman year of high school when this happened. The news struck like a thunderbolt. One month later, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young released the haunting song “Ohio” which played across the radio dial all summer long. I can still hear the lyrics: “Four dead in O-hi-o… Four dead in O-hi-o…”

    It made me angry. It made me focus. I protested. I rebelled. The cultural chasms that split America over the Vietnam War and Civil Rights were ripped wide open. The nation would never be the same. We lost whatever innocence remained. Four years later, President Nixon resigned in disgrace. It was poetic justice.

    Liked by 3 people

    • It was one of those defining moments, like the assassination of JFK, the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger, or 9/11 … we remember where we were and what we were doing with clarity, almost as if it were just last week. Sadly, I don’t think we’re one bit better today than we were then, and I can easily see the same thing happening under the current batch of fools in Washington.

      Liked by 2 people

        • That is my prediction also. We are projected to have the hottest summer on record, tensions are already at an all-time high, the pandemic and shutdowns are further dividing us, and the ultra-contentious election is now less than 6 months away, with Trump doing his best to turn a presidency into a dictatorship. What could possibly go wrong, eh?


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