Friday, May 13, 2005

May 4, 35 years later.

Chris Butler sent me this:

Spent all last week back in Ohio for the 35th anniversary of the Kent State shootings. Sparsely attended, not much media play either...but oh so life-affirming for the geezers that were there. And it felt different from the other reunions…calmer, deeper…something. Dunno why…age?...wisdom?…just living? It really struck me this time how much May 4th has become a part of me/my life. The anger is still there (goddam...i hate those bastards), but also a sense of it being as much a part of me as an arm or a leg. When one is confronted w/ something so terribly wrong, it becomes a moral absolute. Not in the sense of how those right-wing Christians are glomming onto Biblical teachings as 'the only way'…more like as a way of judging all parts of your life. I ducked - my friends didn't - and so I'm living on borrowed time = make each moment count. Don't sweat the small stuff/save your freak-outs for the real crises vs. the day-to-day bullshit. Be happy now/pay yourself off now/joy now…'cause life is short and flimsy. Don't tolerate injustice & unfairness & hypocrisy…if life is unfair, change it/don't be surprised at the pettiness of human nature, but don't succumb to it. Those old idealistic hippie/political values have turned out to be valid and enriching - solid..and practical. In short…I am never lost as to 'what to do'…that single event has become a tool for parsing right & wrong.


bh said...

I was one of the old geezers that Chris Butler mentions, who were at the 35th reunion
of the Kent State survivors. I feel a lot of the same emotions as Chris, except that time has replaced hate with forgiveness. They were as much pawns in the game as we were.

I’m only here because I was standing behind the Guard and not in front or to the side of the firing line. I didn’t need to duck, but I did need to run away. I fit the profile with my long hair and blue jeans. Getting to my apartment at Guido’s Pizza on Main Street, across the river and the railroad tracks from campus was a real odyssey. The campus buses weren’t running and with marital law declared, the Guard was everywhere stopping people and hassling them. I finally made it to the train station and went down by the river and walked all the way to Fred Fuller Park. I came up from the quiet river valley into screaming sirens and helicopter patrols. Three months later I left for San Francisco and never have lived in Kent since.

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