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Kent State shootings remembered
KENT, Ohio (CNN) -- The moment when National Guard troops fired on Vietnam War protesters at Kent State University will be commemorated Thursday on the campus.
On that day, three decades ago, four young people protesting America's involvement in the Vietnam War were killed, and nine were wounded by National Guard troops who had been called to the campus to quell anti-war protests.
A photograph of a horror stricken teenager on her knees next to one of the shooting victims symbolized the carnage that occurred on May 4, 1970.
Kent State student John Filo remembers when he took the picture three decades ago.
"My initial reaction was to flee. I stop myself and I noticed this woman run up and kneel down beside him," he recalled.
The woman was actually a 15-year-old girl, screaming in horror as Kent State student Jeffrey Miller lay dying.
Miller was one of the four students killed.
'Kids lying on the ground'
"It was like -- oh my God, I can't believe it. So everybody came out and there were kids lying on the ground, running all over the place," said Bob Carpenter.
At the time of the shooting, Carpenter was news director at the student radio station. He breathlessly told his listeners of the guardsmen opening fire after claiming their lives were in danger.
But Miller was 85 yards away from the guardsmen when he was shot and the other shooting victims, Allison Krause, William Schroeder and Sandy Scheuer were an even greater distance from the troops.
"There isn't a day in my life that goes by that I don't wake up without some conscious thought of this. I was in Vietnam twice before. I didn't have the fear that I had on this campus -- helicopters swooping down, tear gas, bullets. It was a scary thing. I get goosebumps talking about it right at this moment," said Carpenter.
'It's gone too far'
Other Kent State students, like Paul Tople, took photos of the carnage.
"When I saw the students in their pools of blood, I said this is it, it's got to stop -- the protests, the war. It's gone too far," said Tople.
"I like to call it murder. I see no justification and no justice," said John Darnell, a student at the time.
Protesters were angrier than ever immediately after the shootings, and faculty members were warned by the National Guard commander that the students must disperse immediately.
It was then that the late Professor Glenn Frank made a speech to students that likely prevented more bloodshed. It was recorded by radio reporter Carpenter.
"I don't care if you've never listened to anybody before in your life. I am begging you right now, if you don't disperse right now, they're going to move in. It will only be a slaughter. Please, listen to me. Jesus Christ, I don't want to be part of this. Listen to me," pleads the professor on the recording.
The protesters, including the nine who were wounded, then left the area.
Alan Frank, the son of that professor, was also in the crowd that day.
"He absolutely saved my life and hundreds of others," said Frank.
CNN In-depth Special: Remembering Kent State
Kent State University Home Page
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