FOUR UNARMED STUDENTS DEAD
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.
Protesters began hurling rocks at the guardsmen who advanced towards them with bayonets fixed on their M1 .30-06 caliber semi-automatic rifles.
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.
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.
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.
THE GIRL IN THE PHOTO
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.