Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Day To Remember - May 4, 1970

On May 4th, 1970, John Filo was a young undergraduate working in the Kent State photo lab. He decided to take a break, and went outside to see students milling in the parking lot. Over the weekend, following the burning of the ROTC building, thousands of students had moved back and forth from the commons area near to the hill in front of Taylor Hall, demonstrating and calling to an end to the war in Vietnam. John decided to get his camera, and see if he could get an interesting picture. He saw one student waving a black flag on the hillside, with the National Guard in the background. He shot the photograph, and feeling that he now had recorded the moment, wandered to the parking lot, where a lot of the students had gathered. Suddenly, G company of the Ohio National Guard opened fire. John thought they were shooting blanks, and started to take pictures.

A second later, he saw Mary Vecchio crying over the body of one the students (Jeffrey Miller) who had just been killed. He took the picture.
A few hours later, he started to transmit the pictures he had taken to the Associated Press from a small newspaper in Pennsylvania.
The photograph won him a Pulitzer.
On May 4, 1970 the Ohio National Guard opened fire into a busy college campus, Kent State University, during a school day. A total of 67 shots were fired in 13 seconds.  Four students: Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, William Schroeder, and Sandra Scheuer were killed.  Nine students were wounded.
Update:  For some reason the photo above is NOT showing all the time on my blog - I am posting it again below - this time I photographed it from James A. Michener's book "Kent State What Happened And Why".

This year is the 40th anniversary of the Kent State May 4, 1970 tragedy.  Many of you may not have been born when this tragedy happened but it remains a part of my life and my hubby's.  Although we had not met until the following year both of us were attending Kent State University in Kent, Ohio on May 4, 1970.  
This was a time when SDS Radicals were holding rallies across the nation against the war in Vietnam and the draft and targeted this mid-western Ohio university in the hopes that with pressure something might explode and unfortunately it did tragically. 

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  1. Even before the picture came up. I knew. I can see that image in my mind like it was yesterday. Let's see 1970, that would be Junior High...

    Ok, so I'm AVOIDING again...


  2. A terrible thing to happen. The Vietnam War was a terrible one to be involved in. In Australia our government sent 20 year old conscripts, fresh out of school and unmilling to fight in a war we had no business in and when they came home they were ostrasized by the general public - a wound that took many years to heal.

  3. Sandy,
    The picture won't come up for me (for some reason)... so I googled it. I remember seeing this photo. I don't remember the event as my own actual memory(as in when it happened) but I remember it through 'history' and D.Crosby singing about it. I've seen documentaries that included the event. It was such a tragedy. I've never known anyone that was there...until now.
    I only know you through our blogging back and forth...but, I can see the effect through your writing, that this has had on you.
    You said that both you and your husband were students at the time... it makes me think.
    All I can say is, we don't understand, ...but God's ways are always right. There is no question in my mind about that.