I was in Kent, Ohio, a couple weeks ago and took the opportunity of a free afternoon to explore some of Kent State's campus. They recently added what I can only assume to be a nod to Ohio State's oval, though it's a far cry at best (O-H!), but more seriously, they added a May 4 Museum. I thought everyone knew about May 4, but when I was talking to my youngest sister, she didn't have a solid idea. She knew vaguely about it, but I think that's mostly due to our upbringing under the musical stylings of Neil Young, courtesy of Dad.
May 4 was the date on which the National Guard shot and killed four students on Kent State's campus after protests sparked by Nixon's announcement that U.S. forces were moving into Cambodia. Upon hearing that the unfavorable war was continuing, many people, and especially students, protested around the country. I was happy to see my alma matter (Ohio State, of course) and my youngest sister's school, University of Kentucky, on the map. I like to think we would have voiced our opinions then, and now, even though my generation can be a little apathetic to the path of the country. That's a different story, though. That, and the moon landing. I'll stop.
It's a small museum, but quite impactful. It starts with a background, from a country divided by the Civil Rights Movement to generations divided by the same movement, along with the Vietnam War.
The museum then went into the feeling on college campuses, which is where it all really started to relate. I'm only a few years out of college, so the fraternity taking a group picture with their draft number was startling. I couldn't imagine being in a time where my male friends would almost have a countdown to being shipped off.
The museum then covered the timeline of May 4, with pictures and video footage from the day. It was absolutely haunting.
I think the quote at the top was incredibly fitting for this museum, made even more poignant because it was taken from one of the girls killed that day. It's almost incomprehensible to me that something so appropriate was quoted before a person's life was taken so soon.
I want to make an impact. I want for my generation to know the past. I'm so afraid of forgetting. This museum felt like it was for my age (or maybe the college age, but I'm refusing to grow up); we can make a difference, we can be heard, and we can't forget that.