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Kent State Shootings Remembrance in the United States

Each year on May 4, students, activists, and survivors gather at Kent State University in Ohio to mark the anniversary of the Kent State massacre in 1970.

Is Kent State Shootings Remembrance a Public Holiday?

Kent State Shootings Remembrance is not a public holiday. It falls on Saturday, May 4, 2019 and most businesses follow regular Saturday opening hours in the United States.

The students taking part in the demonstrations on May 4, 1970, protested against the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

©bigstockphoto.com/igor stevanovic

What Do People Do?

The May 4 Task Force (M4TF), a student organization at Kent State University, organizes a number of commemorative events. These usually include discussions, speeches, concerts, and a candlelight march around campus. The activities are open to the general public.

Events are also held at the May 4 Visitors Center, which was opened in 2013.

Public Life

Kent State Shootings Remembrance Day is a local observance at Kent State University only. It is not an official holiday.

Background

On May 4, 1970, members of the Ohio National Guard shot and killed 4 students peacefully protesting against the United States' involvement in the Vietnam War. 9 students were wounded during the event. The perpetrators were never brought to justice.

John Paul Filo's Pulitzer Prize-winning photo of the incident is considered one of the historically most significant images of the era. It shows Mary Ann Vecchio kneeling over the body of one of the victims, Jeffrey Miller.

The incident had a great impact on the political atmosphere both in the U.S. and internationally, radicalizing the opposition to the military engagement in the Vietnam conflict. Following the event, about 8 million students took part in a national hunger strike, closing down hundreds of universities and schools across the United States.

The protests were triggered by a speech by U.S. President Nixon on April 30, 1970, in which he announced the extension of the war efforts to Cambodia.

Kent State Shootings Remembrance Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2015MonMay 4Kent State Shootings RemembranceLocal observanceOhio
2016WedMay 4Kent State Shootings RemembranceLocal observanceOhio
2017ThuMay 4Kent State Shootings RemembranceLocal observanceOhio
2018FriMay 4Kent State Shootings RemembranceLocal observanceOhio
2019SatMay 4Kent State Shootings RemembranceLocal observanceOhio
2020MonMay 4Kent State Shootings RemembranceLocal observanceOhio
2021TueMay 4Kent State Shootings RemembranceLocal observanceOhio
2022WedMay 4Kent State Shootings RemembranceLocal observanceOhio
2023ThuMay 4Kent State Shootings RemembranceLocal observanceOhio
2024SatMay 4Kent State Shootings RemembranceLocal observanceOhio
2025SunMay 4Kent State Shootings RemembranceLocal observanceOhio

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