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View Diary: May '70: 1. Finally On Our Own... (10 comments)

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  •  Yes I do remember (6+ / 0-)

    I've posted here before but of course that was last year, and the year before, and the year before.

    For the benefit of those who weren't around this time a year ago...

    The events of May 1970 have a personal side for me. I was not quite 19 years old; a full-time student on Long Island at a very progressive state university. There was outrage of course; I know that classes were canceled at least once during the month though I no longer recall the exact details.

    On the afternoon of May 4 I was not in class, whether because of cancellations or because I didn't happen to have any classes that afternoon (again, it was a long time ago and memory is not perfect). I was with a group of friends, traveling the side roads of what was then a semi-rural area near our campus (now converted into one of the far suburbs of NYC); the radio was on. A news report announced that there had been killings at Kent State and gave the names of those killed, including Jeffrey Miller. I noted that I had a cousin named Jeff Miller who happened to be a visiting student at Kent State that year. I was certain this was merely coincidental until I got back to campus and called home. My sister (who was a sophomore in high school at the time) answered the phone which was noteworthy in and of itself. I asked her where my mom was. She told me she was at my aunt's apartment, around the corner. And the rest, as they say, is history.

    This was the sort of thing you did not expect to happen. It was incomprehensible to me. It was incomprehensible to my family. If there were any Republicans left in my family up to that point, nobody was admitting it that afternoon or ever again.

    For most of the rest of the nation this was a tragedy; for my family it was a surreal event leading to a ludicrous media circus that continued on and off for years afterwards. Although some of the details have faded over the years others are indelible. The events surrounding Kent State made me more convinced than ever that if our nation was ever going to go to war we'd better have damned good reasons for doing so.

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