On May 4, 1970, four students at Kent State University were shot and killed in an unproked attack by the Ohio National Guard during a student demonstration against the Vietnam War. This photo, by John Filo, later won the Pulitzer Prize. Filo had stepped out of his campus photography lab to take a break – and walked into a moment which became an iconic one for Americans and people working for peace all over the world, young and not so young. This photo shows Jeffrey Miller, killed by shots from the Guard, who then retreated without pausing to assist the wounded. Four students were shot and killed and 9 were injured, one of whom was permanently paralyzed.
… the Guard, commanded with an amazing lack of military judgment, marched down a hill, to a field in the middle of angry demonstrators, then back up again. Seconds before they would have passed around the corner of a large building, and out of sight of the crowd, many of the Guardsmen wheeled and fired directly into the students, hitting thirteen, killing four of them, pulling the trigger over and over, for thirteen seconds. (Count out loud–one Mississippi, two Mississippi, to see how long this is.) Guardsmen–none of whom were later punished, civilly, administratively, or criminally–admitted firing at specific unarmed targets; one man shot a demonstrator who was giving him the finger. The closest student shot was fully sixty feet away; all but one were more than 100 feet away; all but two were more than 200 feet away. One of the dead was 255 feet away; the rest were 300 to 400 feet away. The most distant student shot was more than 700 feet from the Guardsmen.
President Nixon created a public atmosphere in which students who opposed the war were fair game for those who supported the government. In the week following Kent State, construction workers rioted on Wall Street, attacking antiwar demonstrators and sending many to the hospital, some permanently crippled. It was reported at the time that, a day or two after the deaths, President Nixon called the parents of the only slain student known to be a bystander–he was a member of ROTC–to express condolences. The phone never rang in the other parents’ houses. The message couldn’t have been clearer: they had it coming. more here
Subsequently, Neil Young who was with Crosbie, Stills, Nash & Young at the time, penned “Ohio” and recorded it with CSNY.
With all that has not changed for the better in America since 1970, no one can afford to rest.
My life had already been changed by peace movement activities by May 4, 1970. That day contributed to the breaking of many hearts.
More photos, as well as first person testimonies, of the horrific incident at Kent State here
More references to Kent State killings at wood s lot