Candlelight vigil honors four slain students

Bethany Jones

At midnight, about 150 people began to stand vigil over the spots where four Kent State students fell 36 years ago.

The 36th annual candlelight vigil kicked off at midnight yesterday directly following the annual Candlelight March.

About 20 volunteers took turns throughout the night standing at one of the four memorials of the slain students. Volunteers held candles while standing in half-hour increments of silence throughout the night.

Justin Stine, electronic media production major and treasurer of the May 4 Task Force, said volunteers often stand two to three times throughout the night.

Stine, who stood from 12:30 to 1:00 a.m., said this was his second year volunteering for the vigil.

Amanda John, integrated science major and part of the May 4 Task Force, stood three times throughout the night.

“I think May 4th is an important part of the history,” she said. “I encourage all others to come out.”

John said while standing at the memorials, she tried her best to just focus on the dead victims.

“I’m keeping their light going for a while when I’m holding that lantern,” she said.

Leatrice Urbanowicz and her three children, ages 18, 20 and 30, all participated in the commemoration activities. She was a senior at Crestwood High School in Mantua during the shootings and now lives in Frederick, Md.

She said the remembrance of May 4 and being here every year is important to her and her children.

Urbanowicz said not letting the events of May 4 be forgotten is essential.

“If you forget, it’s gonna happen again,” she said.

Urbanowicz, who stood five times throughout the night, has participated in the vigil every year since 1975.

The vigil lasted 12 hours and ended at 12:24 p.m. at the sound of the victory bell, the time the national guardsmen fired the first shots at students. The bell rang 15 times to symbolize the four dead and nine injured Kent State students and the two students who were killed by national guardsmen at Jackson State in Jackson, Miss., on May 14 and 15.

Contact enterprise reporter Bethany Jones at [email protected].