Margaret Button: 50 years later, Kent State University still on my mind

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Fifty years ago, on Monday, May 4, 1970, four students at Kent State University in Ohio were killed by members of the National Guard as they protested against the expansion of the Vietnam War (a war in name only, for the U.S. never formally declared war on Vietnam or Cambodia) and the presence of the National Guard on campus.

Now, to be fair, following a peaceful student protest the Friday before, a group of radical students had torched a building in downtown Kent and the ROTC building on campus, which resulted in the soldiers being deployed on the campus prior to another protest planned for that Monday.

I remember that day in North Adams was a perfect spring day — as later news reports said it was in Ohio. As the Kent students protested, some taunted the soldiers. Just after noon, a group of soldiers huddled together, retreated a bit and fired at the students for 13 seconds. Four students were killed — Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandra Scheuer and William Schroeder — and nine injured. The students were unarmed and no one knew the Guardsmen's guns had live ammunition. To this day, I don't think anyone knows why they fired their weapons.

Seven hundred miles away, I was sitting in my high school history classroom (three rows from the door, two seats down), chatting with my friend, Debbi, when the news came over the intercom system. We all sat there stunned; many of us were crying. These were kids not much older than us, and, at our age then, we all thought of ourselves as being immortal.

The images in the newspapers and on the TV news are forever burned into my mind. The photo of student Mary Ann Vecchio kneeling over Miller's body in particular.

That was the day my peers and I lost our innocence and naivety. Bad things did happen, you couldn't always trust the people in command and the carefree days of being "a child of the '60s" was over. We became adults that day.

This Monday, I played Crosby, Stills and Nash's "Ohio," a few times to be exact, and cried once again, as I do every May 4. I thought about what those killed might have achieved in their lives and how the world would have been different because of them, and I raised my glass of wine to them.

***

With supplies getting a bit low in the pantry, I turned to an old favorite over the weekend — Hamburg Quiche — which was from one of my co-workers at the North Adams Transcript. I had everything except fresh milk, so I used evaporated milk, which I did have.

HAMBURG QUICHE

INGREDIENTS:

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1 pound hamburger

4 eggs

2 cups milk

1 cup Bisquick

1/2 cup onion

Can of mushrooms

1 cup cheese, any kind on hand

Salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Brown hamburger and drain excess fat. Place in bottom of a greased 9-by-13-inch pan, top with mushrooms and onion, and set aside. Mix remaining ingredients in a blender and pour over hamburger, mushrooms and cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 55 minutes. Let sit for a few minutes before serving.


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