Kent State Shootings Remembrance
Observed annually on May 4th, Kent State Shootings Remembrance is a day on which people remember the killing of four individuals and the wounding of nine unarmed Kent State University students by the Ohio National Guard on May 4, 1970.
This incident occurred during a peace rally that opposed the expansion of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War into neutral Cambodia. This incident would mark the first time that a student was killed during an anti-war gathering in the U.S. It is a remembrance day on which many solemn commemorative events are held, including speeches, candlelight processions, and concerts.
The History of the Kent State Shootings
On April 30, 1970, U.S. President Richard Nixon announced that the Cambodian Incursion had been launched by the U.S. military. At Kent State University, about 500 students were demonstrating on the Commons. This rally dissolved peacefully by 1 pm, but plans were made for a May 4 rally to protest the expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia.
On Monday, May 4, university officials attempted to ban the gathering, but 2,000 people still assembled. Units under the command of Brigadier General Robert Canterbury of the Ohio National Guard attempted to disperse the students. Repeated orders to disperse from the Ohio National Guard were ignored by the crowd.
The National Guard attempted to disperse the crowd with tear gas, but when that failed, they advanced on the crowd. The National Guard fired on the crowd, and four students were killed and nine were wounded during the event. No members of the National Guard were brought to justice for the shootings on this day.
Observing Kent State Shootings Remembrance
On this day, candlelight processions are held, as well as seminars, concerts, and other events. There are also political speeches and discussion groups held on this remembrance day. Some of these events take place at the Visitors Center at Kent State University.