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May 09, 1974 - Image 5

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Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1974-05-09

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Thursday; May 9, 1974

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Page Five

Kent State deaths commemorated

By CHERYL PILATE
Special To The Daily
KENT STATE - The small
parking lot that once served as
a battleground between the Ohio
National Guard and angry dem-
onstrators is almost totally free
of tell-tale scars. Only the bullet
boles in a nearby metal sculp-
ture serve as a reminder of the
bloody massacre of May 4, 1970.
Once a year, however, stu-
dents rope off the site of the
shootings and hold a memorial
service in commemoration of
the four Kent State University
(KSU) students who were slain
by National Guardsmen during
an anti-war protest.
LAST SATURDAY, the fourth
anniversary of that fatal after-
noon, was a cool, sunny day-
perfect weather for the anti-war
memorial rally scheduled for
that afternoon.
From Friday evening until
noon Saturday, a group of KSU
students had taken turns stand-
ing guard in the parking lot
during the traditional candle-
light vigil. Heads bowed and
holding lanterns, they stood
mute within the roped-off bar-
rier as photographers snapped
pictures and noisy visitors milled
about.
Wilted daises in water-filled
Pepsi cans and half-melted can-
dles marked the spots where the
four bodies had once lain.
THE RALLY scheduled for
that afternoon had drawn more
than 5,000 anti - war activists
from all over the country who
had come to listen to featured
speakers Daniel Ellsberg, Jane
Fonda and Julian Bond.
Although most of the demon-
strators remained silent as they
walked through the parking lot,
observing the solemnity of the
occasion, some of them came
toting blankets and cases of beer
in order to relax while listening
to Judy Collins and Holly Near,
who were scheduled to sing at
the outdoor rally.
Sprawled at the base of a
grassy hill known as the 'com-
mons," the crowd seemed split
among those who came to have
a good time and those who still
felt a deep sense of mourning
because of the senseless slay-
ings that had occurred there
four years ago.
WHILE sunbathers basked in
the heat at the top of the hill,
young children wandered
through the throngs passing out
anti-war literature and college
students circulated impeach-
ment petitions.
"I came to pay my respects,"
said a student from Pennsylvan-
ia State University. "In these
times when everyone is talking
about student apathy, I decided
it was important to care."
Another demonstrator, how-
ever, regarded the rally far less
seriously.
"WE THOUGHT we'd just
come on down and see what's
happening and get some fresh

A woman screams over the body of a student shot by National Guardsmen al
State in 1970.

wir folk songs-one of which
Ner haldwritten speCifically
fcr the r liv.
Vhile th cr.n) was clapping
:sad singing, an angry middle-
S I di ,,-r idlked down t-he
site l t hill. dis;lhying a
v ii i -h d'-red "My son
died at TUhim K'sm because of
f - ~,"-, t )Ii 1~nin i and a
thr-at r) W ashi ng't on by
ANGTI Y i ring at the sing-
i~ clens srratirs for their "'vul-
g-iritvend lesirictire actions in
recent e-ers," the Clevela-nd
us ichinist wsalked to the front
of the crwi in serier to annoy
Eltsherg, Funds and "all the
other traitors."
"All thee nesnne should be
hung for co ttlting the Commu-
nists," he told a small group
while gestnring toward the po-
dilw. "And Nixon should be
impeached -- not for Watergte,
that's netty but for treason. If
we h'-d gone in and wiped out
North Vi t'-mn instead of trad-
ing with the enemy, my son
woild be --live todny."
Althuiglh the main thrust of
the r-ly w-i intended to be a
conlmmemoratis's of the fanr dead
students, few of the siseakers
limited their comments to the
Kent State massacre.
1TH JIAN Bond andJane
Fionda lashed out at streakers
and emphasized the damage that
such "mindless" actions have
on "the movement."
"Those who used to march
militantly now run naked
through the streets," said Bond.
"If all you do is come to a rally
to get titillated by speakers-
then your being here has no
purpose and your lives don't
either."
The crowd responded enthu-
siastically to his message-all
were fully clothed and most be-
lieved they had come here for
"a cause."
ACTRESS Jane Fonda, of Bar-
barella fame, criticized "the
educational system which en-
cotirages students to be apa-
thetic."
"A lot of students don't know
why they're alive these days-
so they get high and streak,"
said Fonda. "But they're not
born that way, they're taught
to be that way."
By the end of the rally, opti-
mism seemed to be the domi-
nant emotion of the crowd.
"I believe the movement has
been given a rea shot in the
arm today," commented a mid-
dle-aged woman from Syracuse,
N.Y. "I've been active in the
anti-war movement for years
and this was the best demon-
stration I've ever been to."

air," commented a hitchhiker
from Indiana.
Dean Kahler, one of the nine
students wounded by the Na-
tional Guardsmen, addressed the
crowd from his wheelchair.
Gesturing towards Ron Kovic,
a permanently crippled war vet-
eran who also spoke at the rally,
he shouted, "Our bodies were
destroyed by the same adminis-
tration."
CLAIMING that the recent
federal grand jury indictments
of eight National Guardsmen
"charged only the trigger men."
Kahler said that former Ohio
Gov. James Rhodes and Presi-
dent Nixon should also be in-
dicted for following a policy
aimed at crushing dissent.
After three months of investi-
gation, the g r a n d jury had
lodged criminal charges against
one present and seven former
Ohio National Guardsmen,
charging them with willfully as-
saulting the demonstrators and
violating their civil rights.
Kahler's often emotional ad-
rupted by the crowd's vigorous
applause.
UNABLE TO move his lifeless
legs, Kahler leaned forward in
his wheelchair and raised his
fist in acknowledgement of the
crowd's enthusiastic response.
"We here are the ones that
will uplift this country. We will
change it to a country that per-
petuates life, not destroys it,"
he cried out.
By this time, even those who
had come "just to get some

fresh air" were no longer in-
different. The entire crowd, in-
cluding the few children and
elderly people present, rose to
its feet, cheering and waving
protest signs.
BY THE TIME Daniel Ells-
berg stepped up to the podium,
the tragic overtones that had
pervaded the earlier part of the
r a l1 y had completely disap-
peared.
"Don't mourn-organize," he
exhorted, bringing the crowd to
its feet.
Taking off on a humorous
note, Ellaberg referred to the
recently released presidential
transcripts.
"I STAYED up all last night
reading a new bestseller," he
said with a grin. "It has devel-
opment, theme, plot-a lot of
plotting."
The crowd, applauding wildly,
began waving "Jail to the
Thief" banners.
Ellsberg, who l e a k e d the
Pentagon Papers to the public,
had shed the formal attire he
normally reserves for public ap-
pearances for more comfortable
garb. Shirt sleeves rolled above
the elbow and hair tousled by

the wind, he could not easily be
distinguished from many of the
rumpled, disheveled members
of the crowd who had spent the
night traveling in their cars.
AFTER THE somber emo-
tional addresses that character-
ized the earlier part of the rally,
Elaberg's s a r d o n i c humor
served to loosen up the crowd
and a few people began passing
joints.
"The transcripts are political
pornography in every sense of
the word," Ellaberg continued.
"They are designed to arouse
anyone who ever wanted to work
in the Oval Office. The men in
this story don't get high on
grass-they get high on inside
dope."
Switching to a more serious
note, Flsberg vigorously de-
nounced the war policies of the
present administration and lam-
basted Nixon 'for his "role in
the criminal conspiracy."
"IF WE DON'T impeach Nix-
on, in the future, no President
will think he's bound by any
law," he said.
In between speeches, Holly
Near and Judy Collins enter-
tained the audience with anti-

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