'4 Dead in O-hi-o' - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young: Tribute to Kent State 4

On May 4, 1970 the Ohio National Guard shot and killed four unarmed, peaceful anti-war protestors at Kent State

PTAblues - May 3, 2018

The 1960's was a time of young people seeking the truth, it was a time of looking for a better way to live. Can society be changed? Can we stop war? Can we live free? The Vietnam war was broadcast every night in living color with Uncle Cronkite giving us a death count. The illusion of what our country was fell away. The war divided the nation and the young people were turning on, tuning in and dropping out. A new underground emerged in the 60's that was anti-establishment and wanted no part of the war.

On May 4, 1970 at Kent State students were demonstrating against the Vietnam war. The National Guard were ordered to clear the campus . The Guardsman opened fire and fired sixty-one shots within thirteen seconds, killing four students and wounding nine. Disbelief, fright and attempts at first aid gave way quickly to anger. A group of two hundred to three hundred demonstrators gathered on a slope nearby and were ordered to move. Faculty members were able to convince the group to disperse. A University ambulance moved through the campus making the following announcement over a public address system: "By order of President White, the University is closed. Students should pack their things and leave the campus as quickly as possible." Late that afternoon, the county prosecutor obtained an injunction closing the University indefinitely. Normal campus activities did not resume until the summer session.

May 5th Student strikes honoring the four deaths spread to 448 campuses. May 14th Mississippi police killed two black students at a Jackson State college dormitory. A grand jury said the National Guard acted in self-defense at Kent State. The Vietnam war did not end until April 30, 1975

Ohio was written and composed by Neil Young in reaction to the Kent State shootings, performed here by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Young wrote the lyrics to "Ohio" after seeing the photos of the incident in Life Magazine. On the evening that CSN&Y entered Recording Studios the song had already been rehearsed, the group recorded it in just a few takes. During the same session, they recorded the single's B-side, Stephen Stills's ode to the war's dead, "Find the Cost of Freedom."

Lyrics:
"Ohio Tin soldiers and Nixon's comin'
We're finally on our own
This summer I hear the drummin'
Four dead in Ohio
Gotta get down to it
Soldiers are gunning us down
Should have been done long ago
What if you knew her and Found her dead on the ground?
How can you run when you know?
La la la la la la la la La la la la la la la la La la la la la la la la Na na na na na na
Gotta get down to it
Soldiers are cutting us down
Should have been done long ago
What if you knew her and Found her dead on the ground?
How can you run when you know?
Tin soldiers and Nixon's comin' We're finally on our own
This summer I hear the drummin'
Four dead in Ohio Four dead in Ohio Four dead in Ohio Four dead in Ohio"

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