It's been 35 years and one day since the Ohio National Guard opened fire on a crowd of Kent State students gathered at a protest against the Viet Nam War.
Although I am a graduate of Kent State (BA in journalism), I was not there when the kids got shot. I was only 13.
But seven years later, my friend Sharon and I took part in the annual May 4th candle light vigil. We walked silently, carrying our candles along with a thousand others, finally stopping at the Taylor Hall parking lot.
I'll never forget the heart wrenching feeling I had when I saw Allison Kraus's father standing alone, surrounded by candles on the spot where his daughter was killed.
What's worse was the exhibition in the student union of the hateful letters and telegrams people sent to the parents of the dead and wounded. "I'm glad your son was shot. They should have shot more of them." How can people be so cruel? Most of the kids shot were on their way to class and had nothing to do with the demonstration. But even if they were all violent radicals, as Gov. Rhodes had called them, their parents still loved them and missed them terribly. What could possibly be gained from telling a grieving mother her son deserved to die?
I had hoped that we would all become kinder and more civil as the years went by but it doesn't look that way. The culture wars have reached a fevered pitch now and the righteous are raining down an awful lot of wrath.
Still, no one's daughter should ever die in a parking lot for doing nothing more sinister than walking to class.