Many of you know that I was a witness to the May 4 shootings of fellow students by the Ohio National Guard at Kent State on May 4, 1970. As we got closer to the 40th anniversary of the event- the traumatic experience continues to live out in my mind...with little hope of ejecting it from my memory. This is the type of event that one can't forget.....So now as May 4 arrives:
I recall that day standing on the large porch of Taylor Hall behind a pillar as the guardsman crossed the hill and the pagoda, and I looked- and saw them shooting....the first thing I saw was someone injured by the sculpture in front of Taylor hall- and Saul Daniels, editor of the Kent Stater ( Saul has corrected me on this- and says it wasn't him) and I ran inside, and tried to get help.....when the deans office staff wouldn't open the door- I was one of the first down the hill to the commons- and ran into my geology professor Glenn Frank- he asked me what was going on- and I said- "They are shooting people....!" He asked if "this was a rumor?" I said- "I saw the blood". Now I have never flaunted, or capitalized on the tragedy at Kent State (other than being part of a Prodigy Chat with Saul decades ago- which drew only a handful of people). Sadly over the years I thought, perhaps, just maybe, the University would reach out to us students who were there- to discuss how we dealt, or are dealing with the tragedy. Nada, nothing, nyet. When I contacted the University- there are not counseling programs available for us. So..nothing has changed. When I contacted Alan Canfora- head of the May 4 Center- he literally blew me off..... So be it.
I received an invite to a May 4 event from the School Journalism and Mass Communications about the events planned for that day...it had many familiar names- my response is below :
Jennifer, Thank you for your invitation. I will be unable to attend, but my thoughts and prayers are with all who attend and those of us still haunted by May 4, wondering why our University did not reach out to us to help us deal with this traumatic experience.
Every year, I live thru the memory around this time...but somehow this year, I decided to speak out about those of us forgotten...to a housewife in Yonkers, to a Infomercial star in Florida, to a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer in the San Fernando Valley...there are many of us pissed off still- that no one seems to care about us. I mentioned Kent State to a good friend- and he said- "Richard, Perhaps it's time to move on.....You know, he is right!!!"
Just wanted to share my experience of 40 years ago thru today!!!