Saturday Single No. 340

Words are not usually necessary on May 4, and perhaps that is true yet, but some thoughts came to mind yesterday as I pondered the events of forty-three years ago today. Nearly since its inception, this small space on the Internet has explored as two of its main topics the passage of time and the persistence of memory. Part of that exploration has been the commemoration every May 4 of the four young people killed in 1970 by the Ohio National Guard at Kent State University during protests against the Vietnam War. They were:

Allison Krause
Jeffrey Miller
Sandra Scheuer
William Schroeder

We all, through the courses of our lives, lose many people whom we love: Spouses, lovers, parents, friends, and occasionally and perhaps most sadly, children. When the lost one is young – as were the four in Ohio in 1970 – the loss carries with it as well the loss of possibility, of what that young person could have built with his or her life. We grieve the absence, yes, but we grieve just as much the spouse never chosen, the children never born, the jobs never won, the music never heard. And those left behind learn that with the passage of years, grief does become less acute, but they also learn that – like a radioactive atom with its half-life – grief never really goes away.

That may be the final gift of grief: that it never fully goes away, that despite the passage of time it always reminds us of what we had in those who were taken from us, and it does so more and more gently with each passing year.

And we remember.

In 2010, the organization MusiCares honored Neil Young as its Artist of the Year with a celebratory concert in Los Angeles on January 29. Among the performances that evening was Ben Harper’s version of “Ohio.” And it’s today’s Saturday Single.

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2 Responses to “Saturday Single No. 340”

  1. Paco Malo says:

    Great job, Whiteray! Thanks to Neil, Ben, MusiCares, and you, we won’t run, and we won’t forget that tragedy.

    Yet, as John Lennon — another life cut tragically short — sang,

    “We all shine on.
    Like the moon, and the stars, and the sun.”

    Tragedy can lead to inspiration and action. We must learn the lessons of Kent State then and Newtown now. And act!

  2. David Lenander says:

    I like this cover. Thanks for remembering, & writing about it.

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