KENT, Ohio -- Nearly 500 people attended a ceremony Wednesday at Kent State University to commemorate the day National Guardsmen fired on war protesters and observers, killing four students on a spring day 41 years ago.
The two-hour event marking May 4, 1970 began in the Kent State Student Center Ballroom with a history lesson.
A member of the May 4 Task Force read a chronology of events, starting a few days before the shootings, when rioters trashed downtown buildings and burned a vacant ROTC building to protest an escalation of the Vietnam War.
The reading ended with the deaths of the four students — Jeffrey Miller, Allison Krause, William Schroeder, and Sandra Scheuer — after the National Guard was called to quell protesters gathered by Taylor Hall and responded with 67 bullets.
Task force members took turns giving personal tributes to each slain student.
In a tribute to Scheuer, Erin McKay said her memory "is still changing the world."
There was an additional tribute this year for Scheuer's mother, Sarah, who died last spring. The 86-year-old had been an active participant in May 4 memorials.
Speaker Kendra Lee Hicks-Pacifico recalled how during one protest, police helped the elder Scheuer onto a bus that was being filled with handcuffed protesters.
The police respectfully left her handcuffs off, Hicks-Pacifico said, so Scheuer walked the aisle of the bus lighting cigarettes and brushing hair out of protesters' eyes, all the while trying to cut the plastic cords from their wrists with her nail clippers.
"She was brave to keep coming here year after year to commemorate her daughter's death, even though it pained her," Hicks-Pacifico said.
Keynote speaker Stuart Allen, of International Media Services in New Jersey, insisted state and federal authorities need to reopen an investigation into the shootings.
Allen last year was asked to analyze a 15-minute recording of the shootings and concluded that there is a voice ordering the Guard to fire on the students.
He said he also found four distinct gunshots consistent with a .38-caliber gun. That information could be helpful to people who question the activities of a Kent State law enforcement student named Terry Norman, who has admitted he waved a gun that day but denies using it.
"It's never too late for truth and it's never too late for justice," Allen told Wednesday's crowd.
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