I have to admit I have never been to or participated in May 4 events over my past three years at Kent State. Sure, I always had an intention of going, but my feet never really led me over to the Commons to reflect on May 4, 1970, and what it truly means to not only to our university, but to our country.
As a student-intern at Flash Communications, a division of University of Communications and Marketing, I was assigned to attend the May 4 speeches and film the crowd’s reaction of the speeches and capture the emotions of the day.
I was leaving Franklin Hall when I called my friend who was already at the events. When she answered, I only heard a whisper, which surprised me. I expected to hear people carrying on multiple conversations and muffling noises in the background.
It didn’t take long until after I passed Oscar Ritchie Hall to witness why it was so quiet. Now, I always knew what a huge event May 4 was and the impact it had at such a delicate time in America, but I was really moved. I was impacted because the people who attended the May 4 events really wanted to be there.
I saw very few side conversations as I walked up the hill, seeing more peoples’ eyes glued on the speakers rather than watching black squirrels jump from branch to branch.
Witnessing the respect these individuals had for May 4 and its victims really moved me. After filming various speakers and individuals looking on, I sat down to listen to each of the individuals who spoke on behalf of each of the four students who were killed on May 4.
Some speeches highlighted the characteristics of the victims and the type of people they would be today and others focused on the impact May 4 had on our country.
To say attending the May 4 speeches was a waste of my time would be a lie. After listening to the powerful words that echoed throughout campus, I not only know but have a better sense of what May 4 means for Kent State and America.