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Pathway to Commemorate May 4, 1970 Shootings at Kent State

April 4, 1986

KENT, Ohio (AP) _ A sunken pathway carved in a wooded hillside was selected Friday as the winning design for a memorial to the four Kent State University students who were shot to death by the Ohio National Guard at an anti-war demonstration nearly 16 years ago.

The landscaped walkway, one of 698 entries submitted in the competition, includes four round, open-air ″rooms″ off the walkway representing the four who were slain May 4, 1970.

The shootings came to symbolize student protest of American military involvement in Southeast Asia.

The winning entry was designed by architects Ian F. Taberner, 31, of Ann Arbor, Mich., and Michael G. Fahey, 26, of New York City. They will receive a $20,000 first prize.

″It was the most important commission of my entire life,″ said Taberner, reached in Ann Arbor. ″It was very difficult for me to come to terms with the events that occurred that day. I finally decided it was probably as difficult to be a guard that day as it was to be a student.When I came to that understanding, I was finally able to do the design.″

The memorial will incorporate an existing walkway near the site of the demonstration, which was a protest of President Richard Nixon’s announcement April 30 that the United States had secretly bombed Cambodia.

There was no timetable for construction of the memorial, which will be built with private funds.

″With this announcement today, Kent State University formally acknowledges its own history and its place in recent American history,″ said university President Michael Schwartz. ″The loss of four young lives, the wounding of nine other students, the psychological pain and suffering inflicted upon countless others on the campus, in the city of Kent, and even beyond - all of that is remembered here today with the establishment of this commemorative memorial.″

The seven-member jury of architects and artists said the winning entries responded to the decision that the memorial should ″emphasize inquiry, learning and reflection.″ The designs were not to be a political expression.

The May 4 shootings have been marked each year with candlelight marches and memorial services. The only current memorial is a plaque on a stone near where Jeffrey Miller, Allison Krause, William Schroeder and Sandra Scheuer died.

Asked about the delay in building the memorial, Scwartz said: ″The emotions in this matter have run high ... for a very long time. It’s the appropriate time to do this.″

Alan Canfora, who was wounded by the gunfire, had a different explanation.

He blames the fact that former Gov. James A. Rhodes, who had ordered the National Guard on campus, remained in office for many of the years after the shooting. Rhodes, now 76, is seeking the Republican nomination for governor this year.

″Once he left office in 1983, that opened the door to a new memorial effort,″ said Canfora, who was wounded in the wrist. He said he was pleased with the winning design.

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