Welcome to the Hotel America

67 rounds in 13 seconds


Kent State students murdered.
William Schroeder, Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandra Scheuer.

MAY 4, 1970

The victims of the Kent State massacre were among more than 300 students who gathered on campus to protest President Nixon’s expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia.

Just before noon, the Ohio National Guard ordered the crowd to disperse. When they refused the guardsmen threw tear gas canisters but because of wind the tear gas had little effect.

Kent State students murdered.

Protesters began hurling rocks at the guardsmen who advanced towards them with bayonets fixed on their M1 .30-06 caliber semi-automatic rifles.

Kent State students murdered.

Eyewitnesses said that at half past noon a National Guard sergeant began firing at the students with his .45 pistol, setting off a volley of rifle fire from the other guardsmen.

Kent State students murdered.

Thirteen seconds later, four students — Allison Krause, 19, Jeffrey Miller, 20, and Sandra Scheuer, 20, were dead. William Schroeder, 19, was pronounced dead at the hospital. Nine students were wounded, one of them paralyzed for life.


It was the first time in American history that students had been killed in an anti-war protest. Many called it murder, but no criminal charges were ever brought against the guardsmen.

Kent State students murdered.

The photo of the girl kneeling beside the body was taken by student photographer John Filo who was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1971. Now 72, he rose through the ranks of photojournalism to become head of photography at CBS news.

Mary Ann Vecchio meets John Filo at Kent State University in 2009.


Mary Ann Vecchio was a troubled 14-year-old runaway from Florida who hitched her way to Ohio, sleeping in fields and hippie crash pads along the way.

She was in Kent hanging out near the State University when Nixon ordered American troops to invade Cambodia.

Vecchio wandered over to the campus where students were holding an anti-war protest and began talking to a male student. The student was Jeffrey Miller and minutes later he was dead and she was screaming over his body.


Being forever linked to such a national tragedy took its toll psychologically and her life became one of delinquency and juvenile detention centers.

In her adult years she got a high school diploma at the age of 39 and graduated community college as a respiratory therapist. She worked with veterans at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, never disclosing that she was the girl in the Kent State photo. Now retired, she lives near the Everglades.

Back to the front page


2 thoughts on “67 rounds in 13 seconds

  1. I remember this day and it still brings tears to my eyes. For those who weren’t around then, I remember my friends being subjected to the draft and called off to war. You eighteen? Unmarried? No college? If the lottery pulled your birth-date—off you went to The Vietnam War.
    Our nightly news fare included gruesome shots of the dead. The war forever marked those of us experiencing it.


    I knew [as most of us did] the fight was more about resources than freeing people from governments not condoned by us. It is always the little people that suffer most at the hands of power.

    I had two sons and I counted the days until they were beyond the draft age of twenty-six. The joke was on me because they had changed the age to thirty-two.

    I remember this day and I remember how The Vietnam War broke us all.

    That’s probably why such news is not shown on the television now. It’s hard to protest something about which you’ll never know the truth.

  2. The Kent State tragedy and that photo of the little girl running in terror are historic reminders that wars are started by self-serving, unconscionable politicians who spout self-righteous platitudes at home while young men and woman are slaughtered. I’m glad your two sons weren’t drafted.