Recalling Kent State, 50 years after

Front page of The Post-Standard, Syracuse, NY, May 4, 1990.

Thirty years ago today, The Post-Standard in Syracuse, NY, published a series of articles I wrote about a Syracuse native, Tom Grace, who was one of the nine students wounded by Ohio National Guardsmen at Kent State University on May 4, 1970.

Four students were killed, of course, during the anti-war protest.

Now here we are, 50 years after that horrific day. Grace was a 20-year-old history major when a bullet struck him in the foot, requiring multiple surgeries and rehab.

In early 1990, I interviewed Grace several times by phone, and many others, including student activist Alan Canfora, photographer John Paul Filo (who took the iconic shot of the anguished young girl kneeling over the body of Jeffrey Miller as blood streamed from his head along the pavement) and the second-in-command of the Guard that day.

I still get chills, and yes tears, when I read through these stories a half-century later.

I’ve lost touch with Tom Grace, now 70, but I was glad to read that, after decades as a social worker and union activist in Buffalo, he became a professor of history in the Buffalo area.

I guess my lede paragraph 30 years ago was apropos. “Tom Grace went to Kent State University to study history, not become a part of it.”

Semi-retired, thoroughly disgusted progressive grandfather.