I’m sitting here on this beautiful Saturday evening, in West Omaha, Nebraska (watching videos on YouTube Music) and came across a Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young Classic, of many sorts. The song, however, would spark controversy during my childhood, as I remember the song playing while sitting in the kitchen. I remember my mother and her sisters standing in their respectively spots, like frozen blocks of ice, silently listening to the song. Now, I had no idea of the song’s historical importance or the clear impact, it had on my Mother, Margo and Aunts Angela and Sylvia. As the song faded out, my Aunt Sylvia reached over and turned the radio off, made the sign of the cross and continued peeling potatoes. I no longer could remain quiet and broke the silence. See I was born on July 29, 1972 and this transpired way before I was born. I was determined to find out, what exactly sparked four honorable and respected Men of Music to express their rage on vinyl.
“What’s that song about and why you all get so quiet? What happened in Ohio and why did four people die?”
Interestingly enough, no one really answered the question or gave satisfactory answers, only deepening and sparking curiosity. So, the following night, I would ask my mother that same burning question again. I could see it was a highly emotional topic but she was ready to speak on it. Bear in mind, my mother was an Investigative Journalist, who knew how to eloquently engage a person in her storylines. And this topic was no different. She spoke about the events resulting, in the highly unfortunate and unnecessary shooting of Four full-time, unarmed students; who weren’t even apart of the peaceful protest on the Kent State Campus. But I would learn, there were numerous incidents prior to the infamous date of May 4, 1970, that lead up to dissention and ultimately a tragedy; and possibly one of the reasons, President Richard Nixon was impeached. To this day, many are still affected by those events; and it will never be forgotten, sealed in our minds through Literature, Movies, Music, Photos, and Written Reports. It should be mentioned, 67 bullets would be fired in 13 seconds, there would be actually 14 victims (most notably known for 13, but fail to remember; that Lead Singer Christy Hyde of The Pretenders was grazed by a bullet in on her shoulder), no students were armed, National Guardsmen were seen as the suspects to fire off shots, without warning or command to do so and all those shot were students in good standing at the university. Ironically, the killings of our students has never cease and in this day in age, a different war is being fought.
“Flowers are Better than Bullet.” ~Allison Krause~
REST IN HEAVENLY PARADISE, KENT FOUR 4, MAY 1970
Jeffrey Glenn Miller; age 20
Allison B. Krause; age 19
William Knox Schroeder; age 19
Sandra Lee Scheuer; age 20