Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young immortalized the massacre of four students at Kent State University on May 4, 1970, with the following:
Tin soldiers and Nixon’s comin’
We’re finally on our own
This summer I hear the drummin’
Four dead in Ohio
Gotta get down to it
Soldiers are gunning us down
Should have been done long ago
What if you knew her and
Found her dead on the ground?
How can you run when you know?
I wasn’t planning to write about this — but I couldn’t get it out of my mind this morning. Kent State and May 4, 1970. That’s 50 years and a lifetime ago — but I still think about Allison Krause and the others who were killed and injured that day.
I didn’t know Allison — or Jeffrey Miller, Sandra Scheuer and William Schroeder. But I think about Allison because of the Pittsburgh connection, hers and mine. And I think what a shame. Allison and the others would have been — should have been — in their late 60s or early 70s now. Maybe they would be ending careers. Maybe they would be parents — possibly grandparents. I can’t shake those thoughts having been at Kent State myself in 1970, although graduating in March and back home in Pittsburgh in May.
I know there is no point in rehashing what happened on May 4, 1970, and the days immediately before it. If you have an opinion, like me, it has been anchored in concrete for years. For most others now — it’s history.
Yet it is a day in America’s history worth remembering.
And what happened at Kent State 50 years ago today is something we must never forget.
I’m Rob Jewell and I live and write in Woodland Park, Colorado, the City Above the Clouds.
I've been fortunate. I worked for 29 years at BFGoodrich in Akron, Ohio. I started editing employee publications and ended as vice president of corporate communications. Then I started a public relations consulting company before becoming a full-time faculty member in the School of Journalism at Kent State University. I taught courses in writing, public relations and mass communication ethics. And I supervised a student-run public relations firm, called Flash Communications. During my tenure at Kent State I was honored to receive the university’s Outstanding Teaching Award.
During most of this time I've been a dedicated runner. OK, jogger, if you take speed into consideration. But while my times are not much to write about, I was and am committed. For almost 30 years I ran at least 1,000 miles each year. (Except for one year when I tore my calf muscle playing tennis. So much for tennis.)
Being on the road most mornings at 5 a.m. gave me some time to think. It also led to some amazing friendships that now span more than three decades.
And my longtime love affair with running helped me shape my first novel, Then We Ran, which is available wherever electronic books are sold.
And just so you don't think that all I did was work and run, I have other interests as well, many centering on family.
My wife, Mary, was a successful and highly regarded career teacher in the Akron public schools. She now devotes her time and energy to a host of social and athletic activities in Woodland Park.
My son, Brian, teaches at Cheyenne Mountain High School in Colorado Springs where he is also the head soccer coach.
And my daughter, Jessica, has completed her doctorate at Kent State University where she is also an administrator with the Wick Poetry Center. I've done a lot of writing during my career -- but Jessica is the real writer in the family. I'll try not to make too many errors in this blog. I'm sure she'll be watching.
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