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Teach Your Children

As soon as I sat down on the big hill in front of Taylor Hall today, I thought, “Oh, sh…I’m going to get sunburned.” What a beautiful day it was today at Kent State, and my cheeks are bright red.

I was a freshman at KSU on May 4, 1970. But I wasn’t on campus that day. I was still attending the Kent Stark in Canton.  Maybe because of that, and also because I was numbed by all the violence of those years — the assassinations of JFK, MLK, Malcolm X, and RFK — I didn’t react very strongly at first.

The evening of May 4th, I walked into the kitchen and saw my dad sitting at his usual place at our kitchen table quietly listening to the radio news. As I approached, he shook his head and repeated, “This is bad. This is very bad.”

That’s the moment I started to get it. Whenever I hear about kids in the ’60’s leading their parents, when I hear Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young crooning, “Teach your parents well”…I remember that evening. My dad was ahead of me on the Vietnam War, and he was ahead of me on the significance of Kent State.

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