From the Cleveland Plain Dealer

Annual May 4 ceremony at Kent State to honor Virgina Tech students

Posted by Patrick O'Donnell April 27, 2007 22:51PM

Kent-- The annual May 4 commemoration of the 1970 killings at Kent State University will include a memorial gesture to the students killed this month at Virginia Tech.

The campus Victory Bell, which rings each year at the time of the Kent State shootings, will also be rung that morning for each of the 32 students killed by a gunman at Virginia Tech.

"With all of the comparisons of what happened there and what happened here, we thought it would be a very timely thing to do," said May 4th Task Force President John Behnken.

The senior, who majors in electronic media production, said the tolling bell will "not only pay our respects but show we're not only focused on the events here, but events everywhere."

Students and faculty at Kent State remember the four students killed by Ohio National Guard soldiers during a May 4, 1970, antiwar demonstration each year with a series of speeches and vigils around the campus and at the exact spots where the students fell and died.

The theme for this year's event will be "Truth: The First Casualty of War" and will feature speeches by several antiwar activists including Tom Hayden, also a former U.S. representative from California, and Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq who attracted attention for her 2005 protests outside President Bush's Texas ranch.

Behnken said the student committee wants to remind other students that the shootings at Kent State in 1970 "weren't just a single event in history." The committee, he said, wants to highlight and try to stop violence around the country and world.