Four Dead in Ohio–Remembering and Speaking the Truth about Kent State
(Photo of Allison Krause with her boyfriend, Barry Levine, taken not long before she was murdered at Kent State.)
4 dead in Ohio
Tomorrow will be the 39th anniversary of the shootings at Kent State.
For some of us, it changed our view of the world. The killings were so unbelievable and so wrong we could never completely trust our government again.
Those who loved the dead, though, had their existence grabbed savagely and twisted sideways.
Tomorrow Allison Krause’s sister and Mendocino resident, Laurel Krause will speak at the Kent State memorial. She sent me a copy of her speech and I’d like to share excerpts with you.
39 years ago today, my sister, Allison Krause, was murdered by the Ohio National Guard for protesting and demonstrating against the Vietnam War. Also killed were Jeffrey, Sandra and William, and nine other Kent State students were seriously injured…
Allison was freshman at Kent State who was incredibly passionate about life. She was a peace-loving, confident, altruistic, honor-student wanting to get the most out of college, and she was also deeply in love with her boyfriend, Barry. As my older sister, Allison was someone I looked up to. … I still look up to her and continue to be inspired that the whole world may be changed by any real person, like you or me, walking forward with hope and living our ideals and truths.
Let me ask you, today, are you living your truth?
…Allison vehemently disagreed with the US government and its involvement in Vietnam so she assembled with many others and protested on Friday, the first of May, not knowing that she was putting her life in jeopardy, yet feeling strongly that the actions committed by our government were wrong. … As tensions heightened over the weekend, Allison called home to my parents to let them know what was happening on campus. My father told Allison to be cautious; he even asked her to back down and not involve herself. My parents, like most parents, were coming from a place of love for their daughter. They wanted her to be safe. But Allison was aware of the risks involved. Still, she never considered not protesting against something she was incredibly passionate about. …
The dispel process began that morning with leaders telling student protesters to go home or be arrested. Students responded to these infringements of rights by throwing rocks. Wearing gas masks, the National Guard used tear gas to exert control over the growing crowds.
After some time …, Guardsmen turned in unison and took aim.
The shooting lasted 13 seconds.
Dumdum bullets were used – a type of bullet that’s illegal in warfare – and explodes on impact.
My sister died in Barry’s arms. …
The Kent State shooting has changed all of our lives forever, both on the inside and the outside. My family lost its eldest child and were robbed from seeing her blossom in her life…. I lost my only sister and I miss her each day. …
Allison believed in making a difference. Being anti-war and pro-peace and harmony, she was called to action. Although it was not her clear intention, Allison spoke, participated in and died for what she believed in. The spirit of Allison asks “What are we but what we stand for?”
[Here Laurel speaks movingly of her environmental work and how she struggles to create changes for the better. Then she continues.] Don’t hope for a new tomorrow, live it today and live your truth each day. We all make a difference by speaking our truths against all odds.
Through-out my life I looked to my big sister for inspiration. Allison taught me the importance of living a life of intention and truth and I am now consciously and busily wishing to create my truths.
That is Allison’s message and it not just for me
… As we learn to speak our truth, even in the face of danger and opposition, we bring change and harmony.
So I ask you…and I ask you for Allison as well…how are you speaking your truth today?
While it is easy to be complacent, to congratulate ourselves that these 4 deaths helped keep us from blindly following our leaders further into the morass of Vietnam, Laurel’s words remind us that even today no one has been held accountable for
4 dead in Ohio
And still we keep stumbling after our leaders into wars without focus or meaning–where our soldiers and their civilians die horribly for reasons unclear to us all.
Keep the memory of Kent State alive, keep the questions alive, keep speaking the truths as they emerge and we WILL have change. Maybe someday when our leaders call for us to head to Afghanistan, Iraq or another place, and protesters speak against the war, the rest of us will listen and not mock the patriotism and truths of those who speak out.
Maybe someday we just won’t go to war at all.
This collection of excerpts from the FBI report about the Kent State massacre is particularly haunting.
UPDATE: Please take the time to read a soldier’s point of view on As it Stands, local columnist’s, Dave Stancliff’s blog.
UPDATE2: The full text of Laurel’s speech can be found here.