Going back to 1967, the emerging counter-culture energies of the sixties were in high gear ~ like we have never really seen since. As a pre-teen, I looked up to my older sister by four years and we stood together as a united front against our parents, reflecting the generation gap back then.
TV news blasted widespread unrest, chronicling national protests as we watched bloody Vietnam warfare footage with body-bags of returning killed American soldiers. Many of the dead draft-age men had never voted for or against the war as the voting age was 21, changing to 18 in 1971.
Back then our folks, especially Dad was a lifelong democrat, supporting President Johnson's Vietnam war. Allison locked horns with Dad about the war and how he made his living, his jobs at Westinghouse involved streamlining systems, progressing to creating the computerized shipping & tracking systems for Westinghouse nuclear reactor parts worldwide.
Allison and most everyone her age back then was pissed. By 1968, she was protesting the draft and the war in Vietnam. Young men her age were facing a lottery, being drafted into the war. To escape the draft, many peaceful folks enrolled in college or dodged the draft by going to Canada as it became impossible to get Conscientious Objectors status. If you drew a bad lottery number based on birthdate, you were forced to make some very serious decisions.
As the Vietnam war progressed and President Nixon was re-elected in '68, Nixon grandstanded his secret plan to end the war as he covertly full-throttled the war machine with secret bombings in Laos and Cambodia.
Stoking the embers of the Indochine wars, President
Nixon took aim at the younger generation like a enemy camp ~ unleashing a
tsunami of persecution from the Nixon administration, the Dept. of
Justice, the FBI, COINTELPRO and J. Edgar Hoover. Check out this photo
album on the people behind the killings of Kent State ~ http://on.fb.me/hFGAgK
As mentioned, we also fought about how Dad made his living. Arthur Krause was a well-respected and forward-thinking manager at Westinghouse Electric. He loved his job and enjoyed fixing systems so our family was transferred to plants that needed his help. As a young kid I remember Dad's work colleagues greatly respecting his contribution as their colleague and/or manager. Years later Dad would receive the coveted Westinghouse 'Order of Merit' for his superior and lifelong contributions.
In our home back then, my sister and I did not share that pride for our father's work. We also knew that the spent nuclear fuel was used in the manufacture of nuclear weapons, something else we were wishing to eradicate. We felt the conflict that what Dad did for a living was at the expense of our safety on Earth and our environment. We knew it back then and brought it to his attention.
That wound between Dad and Allison never healed. Allison continued to protest against the war and for honoring our environment.
In a ruinous chapter for our family, Allison Krause was one of four students gunned down by the US government on May 4, 1970 protesting the Vietnam War and the military occupation of her campus, Kent State University.
The day after Allison's death, in our backyard Dad made his plea before television cameras and in TV sets across America. In Dad's passionate and emotional speech, he demanded that Allison's "death not be in vain.'
As Dad learned his eldest child was murdered by the US government while protesting the Vietnam war, something he didn't agree with, he fought back for Allison's stolen life and civil rights. Dad began to understand the meaning in Allison's death and in the killing of Jeffrey Miller, Sandy Scheurer and William Schroeder on May 4, 1970.
Within the year President Nixon's men strongly encouraged my folks to drop legal efforts, offering bribes for millions of dollars and my father turned them all down. Just the same, our family was put under surveillance by the FBI for years, continuing to this day.
The Kent State law suits were heard in court houses all the way to the US Supreme Court and back over the next nine years. In 1979, Dad's efforts settled at $15,000 and the 'statement of regret' was personally signed by each of the guardsmen that shot at Allison, along with their commanders ~ something Dad insisted on.
Dad fought for Allison's right to protest and her murder at the hands of the United States government until the end of his days. Arthur Krause knew that the murders at Kent State 1970 were personal for us, yet important for all.