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VVAW Recognizes May 4 Task Force at Kent State
By Bruce Hyland
At Kent State on May 4, 1970 a murderous 13 seconds of gunfire by the Ohio National Guard killed 4 students and wounded 9. This event contributed to a tipping point for the Vietnam War and the ultimate failure of a criminal White House administration. Working parallel with this historic massacre was an ever increasing activity in VVAW beginning late in 1969.
The cowardly May 4th actions of the Ohio National Guard along with other factors helped create a greater sense of urgency within VVAW toward ending the war. Some students at Kent State were Vietnam Vets and VVAW members. This was the early stage of a bonding legacy between Kent State and VVAW.
Recognized commemorations for the May 4th shooting started in 1971 on the Kent State campus. By 1975, an insensitive KSU administration thought 5 years of recognition was enough. Fortunately a strong student activism prevailed and convinced the Kent State campus, administration, and Kent community otherwise. This was the beginning of the Kent State May 4 Task Force.
Since forming in 1975 dedicated students of the Kent State May 4 Task Force have organized commemorations every year. This past May 4th, VVAW honored these dedicated students, past, present, and future. The VVAW Winter Soldier Activism Award was presented to the May 4 Task Force, and also to charter members Alan Canfora, Dean Kahler, and Robbie Stamps.
When this award presentation for the May 4 Task Force was made at Kent State, it was intended to be a concerted effort between yours truly and Bill Davis. As life is not perfect Bill was not able to make it to Kent that day, but memories of him remain.
All Hail, the Kent State May 4 Task Force
Bruce Hyland is a member of the Chicago Chapter of VVAW
and a Vietnam Era Vet, US Army 1st Battalion 3rd US Infantry Regiment (the Old Guard).
One of his last job assignments was door opener for the criminal President Richard Nixon's last day in office.
Bill Davis leading the march at the 20th Anniversary of Kent State in 1990