Where We Gave Too
Yesterday, May 4th 2005, marked a grim anniversary. It was 35 years ago on that day that opponents of the Vietnam War had casualities of thier own as four students at Kent State University in Ohio were killed by National Guard Soldiers.
The problem with an event like this is that it will be hard to find unbiased accounts of the event. My Dad, A Vietnam Vet, wrote a letter to the editor of our hometown's paper from where he was stationed. The fact that more than a few of these protestors who survived that event are now involved in a similar movement, and providing some historical background give this current anti-war/anti-imperialist movement some experience to go off of.
The sacrifices of these four young people is not forgotten at Kent State. A memorial has been built to them, and last April,while visiting my folks for Easter, I made a pilgrimage of sorts to it. Please excuse the quality of some of the pics, these were taken with a cheap digital camera I bought at a Wal-Mart.
I'd like to think I kept the excursion a secret. I do have my own car so I can go where I want. I did get up at 6 in the morning to do my laundry and once I had that going, my Mom said I could leave and she'd finish up. A quick stop at a grocery store to pick up lunch and a pre-trip coffee and muffin, and a gas station to fill the tank and I was on the way.
After about an hours drive, I arrived. To begin with the actual site of the shootings is now residence halls, etc. There is a pillar to mark the actual place where the four students fell, but is now a parking lot:
This to me had some symbolism to it. Many in America would like to "pave over" Vietnam, especially the resistance to it here in the US.
But the actual memorial, near the architecture building, is interesting. It's basically a set of concerte walls that lead to vistor to four pillars:
As I returned home, I thought about how these four young people believed strongly enough in thier opposition to war to be willing to stand and unwillingly die.
Will there be another Kent State for this opposition. Not likely, but perhaps each time a musician is blacklisted for speaking out, or some employee of a company is kept silenced out of fear, another small Kent happens.