Wednesday, April 25, 2012

End of the Innocence (pt.4)

Monday, May 4, 1970

Oblivious to anything else around me on campus on this day, I headed over to Satterfield Hall for my 11:00 English mid-term. I hadn’t been seated very long, however, when there was a flurry of activity throughout the hallways. We were told to clear the building immediately as there was a bomb threat! Moments later, I was waiting for a campus bus to take me back to Dubetz Apartments, where I would spend the afternoon studying for my next mid-term to be given the next day. Sadly, that day never really came that spring.

I recall it was shortly after noon when I first heard the sirens racing toward campus. Not long thereafter, I decided to make my way across town to our fraternity house. Part of the way there, I was confronted by two National Guardsmen in a jeep patrolling the city streets. One of the armed Guardsmen asked me where I was going and ordered me to get there and off the streets as quickly as I could. I needed no further prodding and hustled on to the Kappa Sigma house. There, I learned from other brothers who had been on campus that there had been a terrible shooting and students killed! We were all in a state of confusion and disbelief.

Rumors of all shapes and sizes were running rampant. What stands out the most in those hectic moments are the many descriptions and eyewitness accounts of those who happened to be near the scene that day. There were so many different descriptions of the same event. And that seems to be the case forty-two years later. There is still a cloud of uncertainty as to what really happened up there near Taylor Hall. All of the commissions and task forces can investigate until the cows come home, and the complete truth will never come out.

Soon, the campus was closed and all any of us could do was scramble to try to get home. A complete chaotic atmosphere had converged on the campus, and the surreal state was spellbinding. There were many people whom I would never see again after that weekend, but for a while we were Kent students, all in the same boat, wondering what would come of all this. There were many plans and activities that would never be fulfilled after that weekend. Four students were dead, and far too many others wounded or injured. Fraternity softball games didn't seem to matter all that much any more. And, most of all, there would never be that feeling of innocence in our college lives after that weekend.

Though we would all go on, following one path or another in our individual lives, the events of May 1-4 would somehow travel with us every step of the way. They still do...MLA

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