Campus Reflects on 44th Anniversary of Kent State Shootings

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KENT, Ohio -- Kent State University marked the 44th anniversary of the killings of four students this weekend with a candlelight vigil, a program remembering the fateful day, and a look at activism then and now.

But at the site of the shootings, you saw a number of people just walking quietly and reading markers about what had happened.

To this day, no one is exactly sure why it happened.

Four unarmed students - Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandra Scheuer, and William Schroeder - died when the National Guard opened fire during a protest of the Vietnam War.

Nine other people were hurt.

"People were running back up North Lincoln, saying 'they're shooting at us,'" recalls Mark Kaufman, who was heading to join the protest before he encountered people running toward him and away from the gunfire.

One of the featured speakers was 19-year-old Allison Krause's sister, Laurel.

"My sister, Allison, stood for peace," Laurel said. "She believed in peace, and in her last act on this planet, she died for peace."

Laurel Krause says it's significant that, before a United Nations panel last year, the U.S. government acknowledged the deaths at Kent State that day in a new way.

"The U.S. government has never spoken about Kent State and connected the words 'murder' and 'killing' to it," she says.

While reflecting on the anti-war movement, Mark Kaufman looks out at Kent State, and also thinks of the children and by now, the grandchildren, that the victims from that day may have had.

"There may be ten or fifteen people living who do not exist," he said quietly, "because of what happened here at Kent State."

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