I was a student at UW-Eau Claire on May 4, 1970. Anyone who was a student anywhere on May 4, 1970 remembers what happened on that date.
For anyone else who doesn’t remember that date, Dan Lyksett of the Eau Claire Leader Telegram recalls in this story about construction of a new student center.
On May 4, four Kent State students were shot dead by National Guardsmen during a campus protest rally. On May 8, 1970, several days of angry but peaceful student protests in Eau Claire culminated in the creation of a memorial to the fallen students. Four crab apple trees were planted in a corner of the mall.
A plaque near the trees reads: “These trees – symbols of life and peace – are planted this day, May 8, 1970, in memory of Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandra Scheuer and William Schroeder, students at Kent State University in Ohio who were killed on May 4, 1970.”
One of the trees later died and was replaced.
I checked with Mike Rindo, executive director of the university’s communications staff, who confirmed the construction of the new student center will displace the Kent State memorial. He said alumni who were involved in the May 1970 creation of the memorial are being consulted as the university works to find an acceptable replacement. He said the university is confident they’ll find an acceptable solution.
And maybe that’s OK. Maybe we sometimes need to balance our respect for the past with our duty to the future.
After all, they’re just trees, right?
Trees are a renewable resource. I have never had a problem with any tree coming done for any building project (if necessary) as long as new trees are planted to replace those being killed. I have been in many disagreements over the years on this kind of tree issue.
Here I go again.
Yes, they are just trees.