Kent State Shooting
On May 4, l970 the Ohio National Guard fired into a crowd of Kent State University demonstrators, killing four and wounding nine Kent State students. The event triggered a nationwide student strike that forced hundreds of colleges and universities to close. The Kent State shootings have certainly come to symbolize the deep political and social divisions that sharply divided the country during the Vietnam War era. The decision to bring the Ohio National Guard onto the Kent State University campus was directly related to decisions regarding American involvement in the Vietnam War. Richard Nixon was elected president of the United States in 1968 based in part on his promise to bring an end to the war in Vietnam. During the first year of Nixon's presidency, America's involvement in the war appeared to be winding down. In late April 1970, the United States invaded Cambodia and widened the Vietnam War. This decision was announced on national television and radio on April 30, l970 by President Nixon, who stated that the invasion of Cambodia was designed to attack the headquarters of the Viet Cong, which had been using Cambodian territory as a sanctuary. Protests occurred the next day, Friday, May 1, across United States college campuses where anti-war sentiment ran high. A photograph of Mary Vecchio, a fourteen-year-old runaway, screaming over the body of Jeffery Miller appeared on the front pages of newspapers and magazines throughout the country, and the photographer, John Filo, was to win a Pulitzer Prize for the picture. The photo has taken on a life and importance of its own.