On October 19, 2016 before the US Dept of the Interior and the National Park Service, the Kent State Massacre nomination for National Historic Landmark status was heard. Please read Mary Ann Vecchio’s comment before the nomination advisory board in Washington, D.C. offered on October 19, 2016:
My name is Mary Ann Vecchio. I am the 14-year-old in the iconic, Pulitzer-prize-winning photo taken at Kent State. I am pictured kneeling above the body of 20-year old Jeff Miller as he lay dying. I am here because I am deeply concerned about this application to designate Kent State as a National Historic Landmark. I am also a member of the National Parks Service, an institution that I love from the core of my being.
Like so many of us present at the Kent State shootings, I have carried profound life-long consequences for my presence at the massacre site. My exclusion from this process is an indication of how poorly it has been executed.
Kent State University does not own the narrative of what took place on May 4, 1970. It belongs to each of us there that day, those injured, whose lives were forever altered, and above all to the families of those killed. That fateful day harmed all of us and this exclusionary process which seeks to rewrite the truth is newly re-victimizing.
I have had a chance to review the 144-page landmark nomination report and have come before you to say that the facts included in the report are inaccurate and incomplete. A credible account of the Kent State shootings is not being presented to the Department of Interior in this landmark nomination.
Kent State University has only allowed one side of the truth to be told over these last 46 years, yet it has not been challenged for this revisionism. At what point can the victims and witnesses present at Kent State be heard and stop being subjected to these untruths and distortions? The government injured us once and we are before a government commission again. We cannot bring back those lost at Kent State so all we have at this point is the truth.
There are many elements and recent developments completely censored from the nomination report, I will list just a few that have meaning for me:
New forensic evidence emerged in 2010 which established a command to fire, debunking the idea that the national guard acted spontaneously. This evidence, produced by forensic scientist Stuart Allen, was not even mentioned in the landmark report. Stuart Allen’s analysis points to government complicity at Kent State – a central feature of the accountability the victims have been seeking for decades.
On a more symbolic note but one dear to me, Neil Young’s anthem to the Kent State massacre, the popular song Ohio, is also not mentioned in the KSU nomination report.
Finally, the photo which exposed me to public scrutiny for decades is not explored in this report. I am happy to honor those harmed at Kent State with the circulation of that iconic photograph, an indication of how well-known and well-documented the massacre has been, but it grieves me deeply to know that the vast exposure of this historic event can result in a report so weighted with untruths. I deserve the truth, those killed at Kent State deserve the truth, and the American people as a whole certainly do too.
I have other objections to the content of the landmark application which I am happy to share if my further participation is invited by the Landmark Commission.
I am asking the National Parks Service to please pause, and listen to all concerned about this project, certainly not just Kent State University’s purported experts.
From Pat LaMarche in the Huffington Post on the Kent State massacre landmark nomination hearing, October 19, 2016 http://huff.to/2dwIqmU
The Kent State University landmark nomination report on the Kent State massacre that occurred May 4, 1970 http://bit.ly/2cIV1lO