CAPTION: In this Pulitzer Prize-winning photo, taken by Kent State photojournalism student John Filo, Mary Ann Vecchio can be seen screaming as she kneels by the body of a slain student.
This post originally appeared at dailykos.com on May 3, 2018.
May 4, 1970 Kent State University
I was 13. I was doing my homework and listening to the radio that afternoon.
The small suburban village outside of NYC in which I grew up — a once Republican stronghold — had been ripped apart two years earlier by the death, on Mother’s Day 1968, of the eldest son of a well-known community family, who had died after stepping on a landmine in Vietnam.
Lt. Robert C. Ransom, Jr. had written heart-wrenching and angry letters home from Vietnam — for his service in which he had volunteered after graduating from Bowdoin College — that were republished in magazines ranging from The New Yorker to The Washingtonian. His words, and his parents’ anti-war activism, changed minds and hearts.
Mine needed no changing.
But the breaking news on the radio that sunny afternoon was terrifying. That afternoon, National Guard troops opened fire on students at Kent State University. That afternoon, National Guard troops killed four students for exercising their First Amendment right to protest an illegal and altogether immoral war.
Jeffrey Glenn Miller, 20, shot through the mouth; killed instantly.
Allison B. Krause,19, fatal left chest wound; died later that day.
Sandra Lee Scheuer, 20, fatal neck wound; died a few minutes later from loss of blood.
William Knox Schroeder, 19, fatal chest wound; died almost an hour later in a local hospital while undergoing surgery.
Eleven days after Kent State, on May 15, 1970, two students were killed at Jackson State University. I should have included them in this diary.
A group of angry students.
A burst of gunfire from authorities. Young lives cut short.
It sounds a lot like the Kent State shootings on May 4, 1970, but it happened 10 days later at a predominantly black college in the South.
Police fired for about 30 seconds on a group of students at Jackson State in Mississippi, killing two and wounding 12 others.
The two young men who were gunned down in the melee were Phillip L. Gibbs, a junior at Jackson State and the father of an 18-month-old; and James Earl Green, a high school senior.
Phillip L. Gibbs and James Earl Green. Never forget.