Commemoration began with inspirational words

Christina Stavale

Gene Young, a witness to the Jackson State shootings on May 14, 1970, opened the May 4 Commemoration with the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. and John F. Kennedy.

He used their words to emphasize the importance of making a difference in the world.

“Be a bush if you can’t be a tree,” he said. “Just be the best of whatever you are.”

Young said he was inspired by the crowd gathered before him and hoped freedom would spread in the world.

“Today, let freedom ring through all the fields of Northeast Ohio,” he said.

Additional speakers spoke on behalf of the four students killed at Kent State on May 4, 1970. Brad Cotton spoke on behalf of Sandy Scheuer, Mary Vecchio for Jeff Miller, Isaac Miller for Bill Schroeder and Jim Mueller for Allison Krause.

“I knew I had to come today as our nation escalates yet another immoral war,” Cotton said, comparing the Vietnam War to the Iraq War.

He said Friday’s atmosphere felt much like April and May of 1970.

“I pray that we can be light against this darkness,” Cotton said.

Contact academics reporter Christina Stavale at [email protected].