Ohio Analysis by Neil Young

Topics: Kent State shootings, Vietnam War, Protest Pages: 2 (558 words) Published: September 30, 2008
On May 4, 1970, four students at Kent State University in Ohio were killed, another student was paralyzed, and eight others were wounded as a result of the United States National Guard opening fire into a crowd of peaceful college war protestors. The four killed were Allison Krause (age 19), William Schroeder (age 19), Jeffrey Miller (age 20), and Sandra Scheuer (age 20). Immediately after this massacre, Neil Young, a war protestor himself, composed a song called “Ohio”, which later became an anthem known as “Four Dead in Ohio”.

This song is a very simple one with a very clear message against the war in Vietnam, and against President Nixon. It was not surprising to find that because this was an anti-war song, it was banned from many radio stations and labeled unpatriotic. It spoke to me the first time I listened to it because I was able to comprehend most of the lyrics, which led me to ask my parents about it. After hearing their version of the story behind the song, I was inspired to look online to read information on this tragic event. It was astonishing to me that this mistake (as the National Guard called it) could have ever occurred. Whenever I listened to the song from that point on, I pictured the faces I viewed online of those who were killed at the peaceful protest. Many people today, especially those who were college students during this time remember the song and the event very well. One for example, was my father.

At this point in history, my father attended Harvard University, and was able to recall exactly where he was when he was first informed of the killings. I also asked him his views on the war and the peaceful protesters. He responded by saying that he was indeed against the war, but he was not directly involved in the protests, for they were not always peaceful (which brings questions up concerning how peaceful exactly was the Kent State protest). My father said, “I did not see how vandalizing buildings around the campus would...
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