A Student’s First Experience at The Commons at Kent State University
by Helen Smith
On May 4, 1970 the lives of the students of Kent State University were changed forever. Four students were shot and died as a result of their injuries, nine students were injured and survived, the end to the result of what started out as a peaceful demonstration due to the invasion of Cambodia during the Vietnam War.
Although I was not alive during this time frame, I was born a few years later, visiting The Commons area at Kent State was something that I had always wanted to do. Upon setting foot in this area, it was almost like watching a movie play out, and you were the third person on the side and not a part of the action. It was almost in s-l-o-w m-o-t-i-o-n.
You could almost see the students sitting on the grassy area, singing. You could feel the presence of the National Guard, and at one point, could almost smell the sulfur from when they had fired their weapons upon the crowd. There they are in their fatigues, and their shields. Sixty-seven shots, and 13 seconds later, there was one dead, and 12 injured. The remaining 3 died later on that day as a result of their injuries. The 9 that lived to tell the tale will be physically and mentally injured for the rest of their lives.
The Commons will be forever hallowed ground. It is a place that should be remembered for the actions that took place here, and not to ever forget them. Four students lost their lives here, and 9 will never forget what was taken from them.
Jeffery Miller, Allison Krause, William Shroeder, and Sandra Sheuer, four names that will be forever remembered in time. Also remembered, but not forgotten are: Joseph Lewis, Jr,, John R. Cleary, Thomas Grace, Alan Canfora, Dean Kahler, Douglas Wrentmore, James Russell, Robert Stamps, and Donald MacKenzie.
Throughout his adult life, Alan Canfora has worked to find out the complete truth regarding what has happened over the course of those 4 days. He has been one of the most outspoken students that was injured that day, and considers it to be a “Government cover-up”. Canfora had discovered a tape in a library archive that proved that there was an order to fire in 2010.
If you would like more information about May 4, 1970, visit the Kent State University web site at: http://www.library.kent.edu/page/11247.