Everyday indeed is the Anniversary of Something. It may be of historical importance. It might be something that is important or relevant to your life. And clearly, if you wait long enough, it will even be the 50th Anniversary of something. Now while that may or may not sound important to you, our lives today are based on those Anniversaries of something.
As I write this article, I would like to remind my readers that I am a leadership teacher and coach and thus I strive to the utmost to keep any and all political views out of my writing.
Tomorrow, May 4th is the 44th anniversary of the shootings at Kent State. May the 4th, 1970 and the days around it are deeply embedded in my memory. For many of you who are reading this, you may have no knowledge or recollection of these events. That is why it is so important for us to remember that everyday is an anniversary of something in history.
Back in 1968, Richard M. Nixon as part of his campaign promises for President clearly stated that he would exact a “Peace With Honor” ending of the Viet Nam War. Nixon was successfully elected and the people of the United States awaited for him to fulfill his campaign promise. Everything seemed to be progressing according to plan until April 30th of 1970 when suddenly it was announced that US Forces had and were invading Cambodia (of special note which will be saved for another posting is the fact that eventually Cambodia under Pol Pot would become known as the “Killing Fields”.) In response to this invasion, students across the US began major protests. In one particular location, Kent State University in Ohio, a series of demonstrations had been taking place and were getting so bad that the mayor requested the Governor for help. The Ohio National Guard was mobilized and sent to the University to regain and maintain order. I wish to remind you the reader that members of the National Guard are your citizen neighbors who serve their State and Country in time of need. I to this day have no idea what caused or why the National Guard opened fire that day. Bullets in many cases are not taught to kill specific people and clearly there were some innocent people hit, wounded and killed that day. Some who were shot were either in the area or the protest or were on their way to their next class. But that fateful day saw 4 Dead and 9 wounded.
Part of the results of this shooting was to cause students from across the country to protest with even more fervor. I clearly remember having just arrived by bus (I was 16) at high school that morning when all of a sudden kids from all the buses were jumping out the emergency exits etc and forming big protest groups. Back then, I was of a different mind set than some of my class mates. These were the radical 70’s. I did not agree with a lot of what they said and did. But here is one thing that I have learned over my 60 years. That part of what has always made the United States the great country that it was and is and that while we don’t always agree with what others think, we will defend their rights to think, say and do even when it verges on the edge of civil disobediance. I am in touch with many of those same classmates today due to something called Facebook. I guess it is true that things and people get better with age.
From a Leadership perspective, none of this should ever have happened. From a Leadership perspective, people in Leadership roles need to continually be upping their game and knowledge of how to handle situations. All too often, when people are put in roles of Leadership that in reality they are being put into roles of management and so badly need to learn what it takes to lead. The Laws of Leadership are the Laws of Leadership just as the Law of Gravity is the Law of Gravity.
My call to action and reason for this writing is to bring to your attention that everyday is an anniversary of something. What anniversaries in your life are happening and how will they effect those that follow us 10, 20, 50 years from now.
Please join me in remembering this tragedy as well as all those who served during that conflict. I am posting some pictures of the day and the song by Crosby, Stills, and Nash about the shooting.