Speakers remember May 4, promote change

Sheehan encourages impeachment of president

Cindy Sheehan, a nationally known anti-war activist, spoke to more than 200 people gathered on Blanket Hill today for the 37th annual Kent State commemoration of May 4, 1970.

Sheehan, whose son Casey was killed during service in Iraq in 2004, is most recognized for her five-week protest outside of President George W. Bush’s Texas ranch in 2005.

“I’m for impeachment,” she said. “But I don’t want to stop there. I want to imprison those people this time.”

Sheehan said she believes there are similarities between the Bush administration and the Nixon administration of the 1970s. She said both have committed crimes that need to be resolved.

“We need to work for peace,” she said.

Contact news correspondent Kelly Pickerel at [email protected].

U.S. Rep, 2 shooting victims speak out against Iraq War

One of Congress’ most vocal critics of the Iraq war also took the stage at today’s May 4 Commemoration and preached one message: Change.

Tim Ryan, U.S. Representative from Ohio’s 17th district, said the fallen protesters at Kent State were sending a clear message of change that is still relevant today.

“It took 31 acts of Congress to end the war in Vietnam,” Ryan said. “We must not let it take that long to end the war in Iraq.”

Following Ryan’s speech, two of the nine students wounded in the shootings recounted their experiences before and after the shootings. Joe Lewis, who was standing with his middle finger pointed at the National Guard just prior to the shootings, was shot through the right abdomen and left lower leg.

Jim Russell, who was struck in the right thigh and right side of his forehead, was 375 feet away from the guard when he was shot.

“I heard the unexpected sound of gunfire, and I ran for a tree,” Russell said.

Lewis, who now lives in Oregon, said every time he returns to Kent State, it’s an emotional experience.

“When I am here with my blood brothers – the eight others wounded – I can’t explain how I feel,” he said.

Russell, who also lives in Oregon, said he disappeared into the hills of the state to escape. But then a high school teacher asked him to talk to a group of students.

“It was the kids who healed us,” said Russell, speaking for the both of them. “By listening to inquisitive teenagers about what happened, they drew away the demons.”

Contact administration reporter Tim Magaw at [email protected].

Witness to Jackson State shootings speaks to crowd

Gene Young spoke the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. and John F. Kennedy to encourage people to make a difference.

A witness to the Jackson State shootings on May 14, 1970, Young spoke to a crowd of more than 200 during Kent State’s commemoration of May 4.

He linked the shootings at Kent State and Jackson State in memory of the lives lost.

“I’m encouraged by all the young people being here,” he said.

He told listeners to “be a bush if you can’t be a tree,” and to “just be the best of whatever you are.”

Additional speakers spoke on behalf of Kent State students whose lives were lost on May 4, 1970: Brad Cotton for Sandy Scheuer, Mary Vecchio for Jeff Miller, Isaac Miller for Bill Schroeder and Jim Mueller for Allison Krause.

Contact academics reporter Christina Stavale at [email protected].

Mother of fallen soldier calls for change

Rosemary Palmer, whose son Edward “Augie” Schroeder was killed in Iraq in August 2005, said Americans have a job to do – take action to end the Iraq War and “as soon as possible, bring our soldiers home.”

“Every violent death tears a hole in the soul of the universe,” she said.

Now, Palmer said the Iraq War has caused too many innocent lives to be lost without a worthwhile cause.

“There are way too many holes in the soul of our universe,” she said.

Initially, Palmer said her son had an optimistic view about the war, but after several months in Iraq, she said her son told her, “the closer we get to going home, the less worth the cost.”

She said Augie told her the war in Iraq is a “never-ending circle” of troops entering Iraqi cities with a mission of “go, leave, clear” only to have Iraqi insurgents return as soon as American troops leave.

After her son’s death, Palmer and her husband, Paul Schroeder, created the Families of the Fallen for Change, an organization advocating for the end of the war. The organization now has more than 1,400 members nationwide.

“My husband and I knew we had a duty to tell the world like our son said, ‘This war is not worth the cost,'” she said.

Contact student politics reporter Jackie Valley at [email protected].

Eyes Wide Open’ exhibit uses footwear to represent Iraq deaths

One hundred and sixty-one pairs of boots were displayed today on the hill in front of the May 4 Memorial to represent the number of men from Ohio who have died in the Iraq war.

Nearby, 100 pairs of shoes memorialized Iraqi casualties. Each pair of shoes represented 1,000 deaths.

Each pair of boots had a tag with the soldier’s picture, name, rank and hometown.

The American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker-based non-profit organization, brought their “Eyes Wide Open Ohio” exhibit to Kent State. The exhibit was sponsored by the May 4 Task Force as part of its annual May 4 Commemoration.

Maureen Farris, Eyes Wide Open Ohio assistant, said she thought the display related to the May 4 shootings because those deaths were unnecessary and the deaths in Iraq are also unnecessary.

Kathleen Myrman, coordinator of Eyes Wide Open Ohio, said she would like the display to be a memorial rather than an antiwar statement.

Adame Riese, freshman interior design major, said he appreciated that the display remembered all the soldiers from Ohio, because one of the soldiers went to his high school in Ohio City.

“Even if you’re not from this area,” he said, “it makes you feel more connected.”

Contact news correspondent Kiera Manion-Fischer at [email protected].

Hayden encourages Americans to exercise their power

Political activist Tom Hayden said the time has come to “apply memory to the future” because the “past is a resource to understand where we’re going.”

“The struggle for memories is a very important one for the beginning and end of any social movement,” he said.

Hayden said the first response to the success of any social movement is usually denial, but Kent State’s remembrance of May 4, 1970 highlights the ability of memories to live as constant reminders.

“You’re here as testimony that those enemies of memory have failed,” he said. “You are not prepared for oblivion.”

Hayden said, like the Vietnam War, the current Iraq War will end when the pillars for war, or resources needed for war, are extinct.

Instead of looking for a single way to end the war, Hayden said Americans need to take responsibility by exercising their power as citizens.

Hayden said the war can be ended by turning public opinion against the war, advising people not to join the military, ending bipartisan support for the war, opposing the funding of the war and encouraging church leaders to oppose the war.

Contact student politics reporter Jackie Valley at [email protected].