Monday, October 14, 2013

Kent State Crosby Stills Nash and Young

If you were less than nine years old in 1970, or not yet on planet earth you can’t know the Vietnam era in your gut or reverberating through your body and soul in memory. You can know facts and figures, you can approximate but you cannot come near. The division in this country over the war was palpable and painful – like a broken heart beating out of rhythm in the same body.

 Out of that brokenness, in the heart of America, came a terrible tragedy.  Today’s children raised on violent entertainment and inured by mad killers with guns cannot know this ingenuous time when the unthinkable happened when young people on a college campus protesting the war, as it was being protested all over the land, were fired on by other young people from the Ohio National Guard. The tragedy was on both sides, that sick feeling of horror -- that ‘not in America’ that ‘not in Ohio’ -- and moved us together toward an end of the war.

For those of you that don’t know, the ‘Kent State Shootigns’ took place at Kent State University in Portage County in northeastern Ohio in the small city of Kent. Kent is not far from Akron, and in easy driving distance is Cuyahoga Valley National Forest and West Branch State Park – a lovely college town with much to recommend it and this one tragic event that marks this spot on the map forever and gives us the determination – never again.

Here is a link to Kent State University's Oral History archive of the Kent State massacre.

For the past few days I’ve woken up with this song playing in my head, reminding me that it is time to post Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young’s unforgettable song about this horrible moment in Ohio’s history. 

Here is another great Vietnam era song from Buffalo Springfield in 1967, a prophetic precursor to the song above.

Credit: "Ohio" TheBacmaster, YouTube,, written by Neil Young,
performed by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young.
"For What It's Worth" PityYou007, YouTube,, by Buffalo Springfield, 1967.

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