KENT, Ohio (WJW)– Fifty years ago today, the Ohio National Guard opened fire on Kent State students during a war protest killing four of them and wounding nine others.
To mark the anniversary, Kent State University held several virtual events and ceremonies that began over the weekend.
At noon today, the university’s website aired a special tribute video. It featured the Kent State Chorale performing a song by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, messages from the wounded students, and a never-seen-before performance from David Crosby and the Sky Trails Band.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Kent State had to cancel this past weekend’s planned events including an appearance from actress and activist Jane Fonda.
“We knew that with the ban on mass gatherings we weren’t going to be able to have our weekend of events that we had planned but we were committed as a university to do something that would remember this day and honor the victims of 1970,” said Rod Flauhaus, a Kent State alumni who has worked on developing much of the online memorial to which the university was inviting visitors instead.
And although there were no university-sanctioned events on Monday that did not keep dozens away who felt the need to be there for the occasion.
“What happened here was really sad and tragic and we try to come back every once in a while just to see the site and remember,” said Mary Russell, a Kent resident who skipped her 8th grade classes in Cuyahoga Falls to be in Kent on May 4, 1970.
This is the first time the annual candlelight march and vigil will be done strictly through social media. To participate, post a picture of a lit candle with the hashtag #KentStateMay4.