I know I do not always get my post in on the correct day, but the story remains the same. I just watched this CNN special "WITNESSED: The Killings at Kent State" and it brought back a lot of memories. I am certain if you were anywhere near your teenage years or above in 1970 you remember the end of the 60s and the beginning of the 70s with the events at Kent State on May 4, 1970.
It is hard to believe it has already been more than forty-four years since the Ohio National Guard killed four Kent State students on Blanket Hill on the campus of Kent State University. It all started five days earlier when President Nixon announced his invasion of Cambodia and the ramping up of the Vietnam War.
Many people felt let down because Nixon had said he was going to de-escalate in Vietnam and Cambodia. Instead, he makes the announcement how he is going to escalate the war and bring in more American troops to advance on areas along the Vietnam and Cambodia borders. I like this chart he showed on a nationally televised presentation. It shows just how far we have come in forty-four years of television graphics and technology:
What happened when Nixon made that statement about advancing instead of de-escalating it made the divide we all ready had between the Vietnam supporters and the antiwar movement.
The students at Kent State University were just the tip of the iceberg of students all over the country who were outraged when Nixon called them "Bums" in an article in the New York Times shortly before the end of April. Students and antiwar supporters all over the country were outraged and incensed at that event. It was starting to throw fuel on the fire of the divide it was happening in the country.
There is always been a debate about whether or not an order was given to the Ohio National Guard to fire upon the students. According to the special, a recently enhanced recording shows the Guards were ordered to open fire on unarmed, innocent, fleeing students. Four students like dead and nine more were injured. One of those students was shot in the back and remains paralyzed to this day. O will get back to them later.
In an interesting epilogue on the video this statement occurs:
The 28 national guardsmen who fired their weapons signed a declaration of regret for the incidents of May 4th, 1970 … but have never apologized for their actions.
I find it interesting how only sixty-seven rounds were fired and it has caused a debate to this day about how the event should have unfolded peacefully.
At no time in history has a branch of the United States military fired on innocent civilians with live ammunition.
The four students killed were Allison Krause, William Schroeder, was shot in the back; Sandy Schreuer, had been walking to class, and Michael Miller shown in this iconic, Pulitzer prize-winning photograph as Mary Ann Vecchio screamed for help over his dead body:
Click on the image to make it larger:
I remember watching Walter Cronkite tell us on the news that night about the terrible massacre on the Kent State campus in Kent, Ohio. I had never even heard of Kent, Ohio before. That shows you how naïve I was to my world outside of Worthington, Minnesota.
The thing that was so disturbing to me about Nixon ramping up the war and sending more troops in was he won election in 1968 telling us he was going to end the Vietnam War. He was lying to us way back then. He had no intention of stopping the war and withdrawing our troops.
As always, I look forward to your comments. I specially look forward to your comments if you will remember that time and how it affected your friends and family and especially you.