Today marks the 50th anniversary of the infamous massacre at Ohio’s Kent State University, where four students were killed and 11 were wounded when National Guard troops opened fire during a protest over the escalation of the Vietnam War.
The incident inspired Neil Young to write the famous Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young protest anthem, “Ohio.”
To mark the event, Kent State is presenting a virtual commemoration on its official website that includes a documentary featuring historic details about the incident, recollections from people who were at the protest, including some who were injured, and comments from some current students reflecting on the tragedy.
The documentary, which you can watch on the university’s YouTube channel, also includes an acoustic performance by Jesse Colin Young of his old band The Youngbloods‘ peace anthem “Get Together” and footage of David Crosby playing “Ohio” live recently with his solo band. In addition, the film begins with a virtual performance by the Kent State University Chorale of the Stephen Stills-penned CSNY song “Find the Cost of Freedom.”
Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Joe Walsh was attending Kent State at the time of the massacre, and he has issued a statement about the incident and the anniversary.
“Those of us who were there remember that day graphically, when our classmates, our friends, got shot down,” Walsh writes. “It was a long time ago but the reason it is so important and should be remembered is because history repeats itself — and we are as divided as a country now as we were then — and people demonstrating have no chance against people with guns. The solution then, as it is now, is to be able to peacefully assemble and understand each other and accept our differences, without fear, without hatred, without violence.”