Our View: We may get the recognition our history deserves

DKS Editors

Today, some Kent State professors and Ohio officials will attend a hearing at the Ohio Historical Society after they nominated 17 acres on the university’s main campus to the National Register of Historic Places.

The proposed acreage includes the area below Taylor Hall – the university commons and the practice field and parking lot across from Taylor Hall. In this area, National Guardsmen killed four students and wounded nine others on May 4, 1970, when the students were protesting the invasion of Cambodia during the Vietnam War.

According to the National Register of Historic Places’ Web site, those included on the National Register are “districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering and culture.” Every property on the registry must be significant to its state or the country.

What could be more significant than May 4 at Kent State? It was a turning point in the unrest in the country, and it put this small-town university on the map – if even for some saddening reasons. Not only were young people being killed overseas in Vietnam, they were now being killed on our own soil for voicing their objections to the war.

This piece of land has lived on in the minds of students past and present and even has its place in American pop culture. People all over the nation if not the world, know Kent State because of May 4.

It’s important that anyone who visits the campus, or even those who walk it daily, recognizes the significance of the parking lot, the practice field and the commons. It’s easy to pass by as if this area were any other place in Ohio or the country – but for a moment, all eyes were on Kent State in 1970.

Students learn about May 4 in their freshmen orientation classes, but it’s not enough to watch one movie or hear one lecture about it. There needs to be a constant reminder to everyone about the events that occurred here. It is not something we should ever push back in our minds or in our history.

We wish those professors and Ohio officials in Columbus the best of luck and hope they bring back more than a simple sign: Recognition of the events that occurred at Kent State on May 4, 1970.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.