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On the 50th anniversary, witnesses remember the May 4 shootings at Kent State University

Posted at 8:31 AM, May 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-04 18:41:38-04

KENT, Ohio — A memorial more than two years in the making was forced to drastically change due to the coronavirus pandemic. On the 50th anniversary of the May 4 shooting on Kent State’s campus organizers are determined to honor the memory and legacy of the victims.

Organizers told News 5 that there is no word yet on if next year’s commemoration will be done on campus or virtually, but they will start working on organizing events for May 4, 2021 in the very near future.

On May 4, 1970, life forever changed for Kent State student Chic Canfora. It was on that day that Canfora, and many others including her brother Alan, were protesting American Military Action in Cambodia.

“We had to process our grief, our fear, our anger, our confusion, not just in the hours afterwards, but in the days, the months, and the years afterwards.

By 12:30 in the afternoon, a group of Ohio National Guardsmen fired their weapons at the protestors, killing four students and wounding nine others, including Canfora’s brothers.

“We will never forget the sights and the sounds of the gun fire, the adrenaline rush as we dove for cover hoping not to be hit and the horror we discovered when we came out from the cars and trees that shielded us.

Then 33-year-old Professor Jerry Lewis, one of a handful of faculty marshals trying to keep the peace, applied first aid.

“I saw a student laying on the ground some distance away so I went over, it was a blind student who had been tear gassed, so I applied first aid,” he said.

But for the first time, on the 50th anniversary the campus will be closed just like it was 50 years ago.

"The whole experience seems surreal knowing that on the 50th anniversary the campus will be closed like it was 50 years ago," Canfora said.

RELATED: Kent State remembers 50th Commemoration of May 4, 1970 with online tribute