The May Fourth Memorial

Kent State University, Kent Ohio

Built to commemorate the tragic events that took the lives of four students while wounding eight at Kent State University in 1970, The May Fourth Memorial aims to foster a heightened awareness of violence and search for alternative solutions to conflict. The Kent State University commission appointed to seek a design in 1984 sought to present visitors with "the opportunity to inquire into the many reasons and purposes of the events that led to the killing and wounding of students by the Ohio National Guard on May 4, 1970, and to encourage the learning process to broaden the perspective of these events."

By rising to the forefront of national attention as a result of this incident, Kent State University will forever be connected with the events of May 4th within the collective consciousness of America. While the Vietnam War raged oversees and many American universities were repeatedly overwhelmed by student protests during this period, Kent State was one of the least likely venues for this type of event. Known for its rather moderate political and academic environment, it was not a bastion of radical political activity on par with Berkeley or Yale, thus making the killings that much more surprising. The memorial attempts to de-politicize the issue and allow for a multitude of perspectives concerning this complicated event. Rather than condemning the actions of the Ohio National Guardsmen, it seeks to mourn this tragedy while attempting to prevent such an event from happening again.

Within the abstract symbolism of the monument's physical form are inscribed three simple words:
Inquire, Learn, and Reflect. Through this inscription, the memorial aims to encourage its visitors not only to mourn the tragic loss of four young lives on May 4, 1970, but also to investigate the roots of this social issue and to create better solutions to resolving conflict.

For more information about The May Fourth Memorial, access the significance of its
audience and the memorial's contribution to healing.

The May Fourth Memorial

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