End of the Innocence (Pt. 3) Calm Before the Storm…

Sunday, May 3, 1970–Kent State University

Sunday was the day where everything seemed calm and all seemed good again, for whatever reason. Perhaps it was the peacefulness that had settled over the campus after the night before. The ROTC ruins were still smoldering and the National Guard was everywhere, but students interacted with them, and it was almost a festive atmosphere. Strolling around front campus, I felt relieved that the tensions had quieted and, perhaps, things would return to normal.

At the same time, I noticed “students” I’d never seen before, and I had a funny feeling that maybe things weren’t all back in order after all. What made me think of them as “outsiders” was a hard and determined look they all seemed to put forth. It’s a feeling I’ve thought about over the years, and I believe it was a premonition of things to come the next day. Why it struck me then has never really been clear to me.

After a day enjoying the fine weather and life on campus once more, I knew I couldn’t put off studying for my American literature mid-term that was to be the next day, Monday, at 11:00. Despite the rather calm day, though, Sunday night escalated into more protests and violence and riot acts and tear gas and injured students and National Guardsmen. The late-night activities served only to further the tensions. The stage was totally set for the tumultuous events of Monday, May 4.

Next: Monday, May 4, 1970: Turmoil

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