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Nearly 50 years later, a woman has dedicated her life to remembering the Kent State shooting

Kent State
Posted at 9:40 PM, Oct 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-18 23:40:37-04

KENT, Ohio — Laura Davis was a Freshmen at Kent State University on May 4th 1970. Her memories are still fresh.

"I saw the line of guardsman turn in unison, absolutely in unison, I saw them position their rifles in unison and start to fire," Davis said. "I curled over and I was just screaming and they're shooting their guns, they're shooting their guns and someone, I'm assuming it was my friend Linda that I was with right at that moment, pulled me into Lake Hall."

The memories of the day the Ohio National Guard mobilized to break up a massive student protest are still vivid. Kent State students organized the rally after the United States invaded Cambodia in April of 1970.

Richard Nixon was elected two years earlier based in part on his promise to end the controversial Vietnam War.

In just 13 seconds of gunfire, four students were killed and nine others injured. Davis remembers seeing one of those four.

"I remember thinking we shouldn't just walk up to him and stand over him and just stare," Davis said. " That wouldn't be respectful, but I was not processing in my brain that he had been killed. All I knew was there was a boy and he was lying in the pavement faced down and I knew something was wrong, but that was as far as my thinking got."

Next year will be the 50th anniversary of the tragedy and Kent State is hosting different events each month.

Davis has dedicated her life to it.

"They can gain something important from knowing the details of the story, both respecting what happened to Sandy, Bill, Jeff and Allison but also understand that this is a story about the first amendment," Davis said.

Davis and her late friend founded the May 4th Visitors Center.

She said she wants to everyone to know what happened that day—and learn from it.

"By learning this story, people can become better citizens themselves and work for positive change in some way," Davis said.

For a full list of the events scheduled at Kent State for the 50th anniversary of May 4, 1970, click here.