Forty years ago Tuesday, National Guard troops on the campus of Kent State University in Ohio opened fire on student protestors, killing four and wounding nine. Several of the students who were shot were simply walking to class and not participating in the demonstration.
I was an 18-year-old freshman, president of the Miami University Student Mobilization Committee (anti-Vietnam War group) in daily contact with student activists on other Ohio campuses, including Kent. We had many arrests after our April 15th protests (I wasn't arrested) and had declared a general strike. Kent and Ohio State, and others, declared strikes initially in solidarity with us. I know it was the invasion of Cambodia that was escalating everything, but when the killings at Kent occured a few days later, I thought it was my fault. I stood at the podium with President Shriver as he closed the campus. We hugged, both in tears, and all went home.