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Kent State May 4th Visitor Center Dedication
By Bruce Hyland
The May 4th Visitor Center located at Kent State University was dedicated this past May 4, 2013. The long overdue center was the result of a dedicated and continuous effort from many people within and outside of the university. The list of the acknowledged, including VVAW, shows the wide support the center has been given. With the Visitor Center now in place (located in Taylor Hall) people can not only tour the site, but also learn further from the video and additional information contained within the center itself.
The dedication was attended by several VVAW members, such as VVAW board member Brian Matarrese, Barry Romo, and former VVAW Kent chapter member Ken Johnson. VVAW's support for the Visitor Center continues a longtime connection to Kent state and the events of May 4, 1970. A number of Vietnam veterans who were Kent State students at the time were also present at the time of the shootings, some lending assistance to students with gun shot wounds. The Visitor Center will provide a living document that can only become more valuable as further information becomes exposed concerning the tragic and historic events of May 4, 1970.
Those that have not been to Kent State will find a visit thought-provoking, especially while walking the grounds of this important and historic site. Those that have not been back for awhile will find some good change, and much more information available with the addition of the Visitor Center.
While some in power would like to continue to ignore the uncomfortable history of May 4th, the Kent State University administration should be commended and encouraged to continue its recognition of May 4, 1970. The families and friends of the slain and the surviving students themselves were galvanized by the May 4th events into a coalition respectfully seeking truth and justice and ultimately a better world for all.
The hard work of all the families, friends, students past-present-future connected to May 4 should have our respect and continued support. The nine wounded students who have gone on to lead diverse lives that reflect high social values and well-being for all, can not be commended enough. The hard work of Kent State professors Carole Barbato and Laura Davis should especially be recognized for helping make the Visitor Center a reality. The classroom work of Carole and Laura, along with the wounded students and VVAW members, continues to ensure a more complete picture of Vietnam War history.
As has been the case since 1975, the May 4 Task Force continues to organize commemorations at Kent State. These dedicated Kent students have been recognized in the past by VVAW and should continue to be recognized for the work they do. If you have not been to Kent State I would highly encourage you to go. If you have not been back for some time, go again. I find it good for the mind, and good for the soul. Peace.
Bruce Hyland is a member of VVAW and a Vietnam Era Vet, US Army 1st Battalion 3rd US Infantry Regiment (the Old Guard).