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Kent State University gathers for first in-person May 4 remembrance in three years

A bronze plaque honors Alan Canfora, one of the students who was shot and wounded during the events of May 4th, 1970
Chris Abreu
Ideastream Public Media
A bronze plaque honors Alan Canfora, one of the students who was shot and wounded during the events of May 4th, 1970

Kent State’s May 4th commemoration events are all in person this year for the first time since 2019. This year marks the 52nd anniversary of the shooting by National Guardsmen in which four students died and nine others were wounded.

“Chic” Canfora was a student at Kent State in 1970 and helps with planning for the annual commemoration. She says this year was especially impactful after having to miss the 50th anniversary due to the pandemic.

“I was very impressed with how many people showed up. It’s cold and a little bit rainy, but they were here," Canfora said. "I think it’s just because we missed the 50th and this is kind of like the 50th that never happened. I think it was every bit as meaningful and impactful as the 50th would’ve been.”

This year’s remembrance also included the dedication of bronze plaques on campus for each of the nine students who were wounded in the shootings. They include Canfora’s brother, Alan, who passed away last year.

Kent State President Todd Diacon says the plaque dedications add extra significance to this years commemoration events.

“It’s a very significant one because of the wounded student markers and six of those wounded students are here," Diacon said. "To me it is very meaningful in a visual sense to see where those students were shot.”

Pulitzer Prize-winning author and presidential historian John Meacham spoke at Wednesday’s commemoration ceremony. He praised the university’s shift over time from at first distancing itself from the events of May 4 to acknowledging and now recognizing their significance.

Chris Abreu is a junior journalism major with a broadcast focus at Kent State with plans to graduate in May 2023. He spent his years at Kent State being heavily involved in TV2 with positions as a reporter, producer, anchor, and even News Director. He has professional reporting experience while working in Cleveland through News Lab, a reporting initiative at the university. Chris hopes to graduate and work in some form of production whether that be content creation through reporting or producing a podcast.