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» Thursday, May 05, 2005

Kent State: 35 years later

The Events and the Music

This is linked thru the blog community at MyDD :: j davidson which led to my search for Buffalo Springfield who had such a profound effect on me and my friends as well as the whole world.   The Comments to this post are well worth the read.   There were and evidently still are those that have very strong views from many angles about those times and these times in which we find ourselves involved in an even more un-just war.

MyDD - j davidson 35 years ago National Guard troops killed four Vietnam War protestors on the Kent State campus in Ohio.

This post is not about the Vietnam War, nor is it about the brave men and women who fight in wars. It is about the brave men and women who never step on the "battlefield" yet play an important role in ending wars.

During war time, we see at least two types of Patriotism arise. We have the patriots who go off to fight the war. And, we have the patriots who oppose the war. Both types of patriots exhibit courage and love of country. But, there are rarely parades and medals for the latter.

In the Vietnam era, there is no question that the protests helped bring a close to the conflict. Today is a day to remember those who died doing just that and a day to remember the lessons of those events.

Since we are in wartime again, its possible we'll see additional protests if Iraq drags out or other unforseen events occur. When we see those protests, we'll need to keep in mind that most involved will be law abiding patriots demonstrating their love of country and their support for the troops in order to get them out of a dangerous situation. We'll also need to remember the right to voice that type of patriotism.

During this war, we've had our share of squelching of dissent. We don't need to detail that here. But, luckily, we haven't had anyone killed. In order to keep the worst from happening we need to look back and remember those patriots who died that May 5 in Ohio for simply showing love of country and for helping to bring our troops home from a dangerous situation.

I have to admit I didn't realize this anniversary until I heard this song on the radio today:

Tin soldiers and Nixon's comin'.
We're finally on our own.
This summer I hear the drummin'.
Four dead in Ohio.

Gotta get down to it.
Soldiers are cutting us down.
Should have been done long ago.
What if you knew her and
Found her dead on the ground?
How can you run when you know?

Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na.
Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na.
Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na.
Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na.

Gotta get down to it.
Soldiers are cutting us down.
Should have been done long ago.
What if you knew her and
Found her dead on the ground?
How can you run when you know?

Tin soldiers and Nixon's comin'.
We're finally on our own.
This summer I hear the drummin'.
Four dead in Ohio.
Four dead in Ohio.
Four dead in Ohio.
Four dead in Ohio.
Four dead in Ohio.
Four dead in Ohio.
Four dead in Ohio.
Four dead in Ohio.
Four dead in Ohio


Let's remember the lessons from those who died and hope another song like this never has to be written again.

Here are the names of those who died at Kent State, so that they may not be forgotten:





Buffalo Springfield For What It's Worth

There's something happening here.
What it is ain't exactly clear.
There's a man with a gun over there,
Telling me I got to beware.
I think it's time we stop, children, what's that sound?
Everybody look what's going down.

There's battle lines being drawn.
Nobody's right if everybody's wrong.
Young people speaking their minds,
Getting so much resistance from behind.
I think it's time we stop, hey, what's that sound?
Everybody look what's going down.

What a field day for the heat.
A thousand people in the street,
Singing songs and carrying signs,
Mostly say, “Hooray for our side.”
It's time we stop, hey, what's that sound?
Everybody look what's going down.

Paranoia strikes deep:
Into your life it will creep.
It starts when you're always afraid.
You step out of line, the man come and take you away.

The lyrics from the Buffalo Springfield's 1967 hit For What It's Worth have come to symbolize the turbulent decade of the 1960s. Employed in virtually every documentary, television special, and feature film (including Forrest Gump and Oliver Stone's Born On The Fourth Of July) chronicling that era in America, For What It's Worth has transcended the pop charts to become an anthem, a touchstone for an entire generation. In 1967, the Buffalo Springfield captured the restless, confrontational mood of that generation railing against the establishment and went on to be revered as one of rock music's most influential groups. The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock 'N' Roll cites the band among a handful of seminal rock pioneers. A glance at rock's greatest movers and shakers of the 1970 and 80s reveals just how significant the Buffalo Springfield legacy has been: Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young, Poco, Loggins and Messina, Souther, Hillman & Furay, Neil Young & Crazy Horse. All arose from the ashes of the Springfield.

Hailed as the quintessential sixties California pop group, the Buffalo Springfield - Richie Furay, Stephen Stills, Neil Young, Bruce Palmer, Dewey Martin, and Jimmy Messina - spawned several rock music genres including folk rock and country rock, with no lesser talents than the Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers, Jackson Browne, and the Eagles all acknowledge their Springfield influences. Though together a mere two years, the Buffalo Springfield managed in that short space of time to achieve a major impact on the rock scene. Their unique California country-folk-rock sound was like nothing heard before or since and their demise in 1968 was greatly lamented in the music world. Their prominent place in the rock music fraternity was formally recognized in 1997 with their long overdue induction into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.

The event that served as catalyst to the formation of the Buffalo Springfield was a serendipitous encounter. In a traffic jam on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles in early April of 1966, Richie Furay and Stephen Stills, two refugees from the early sixties East Coast folk boom chanced to pull up behind a battered black 1953 Pontiac hearse bearing Ontario, Canada license plates. Stalled in rush hour traffic ahead of them sat Neil Young and Bruce Palmer, tired, broke and on their way out of town following a manic cross country journey in search of their musical dreams. That fortuitous meeting would ultimately change the face of rock music forever. Within weeks they were setting the Sunset Strip music scene on its ears and challenging all rivals.

The roots of the Buffalo Springfield went far beyond that fateful 1966 traffic jam. Their unique musical vision was forged from a number of seminal music scenes and influences: Greenwich Village folk clubs, the rhythm and blues of Toronto bars, Yorkville coffeehouses, The Beatles, Latin American rhythms, and Nashville country music. Each member brought to the band his own particular style and tastes to create a wholly mature, distinctive and fresh sound. With so much energy and potential at the outset, expectations were high enough that observers rated the band with few peers outside of The Beatles and Rolling Stones. No other band at that time boasted as much writing and instrumental talent. These five headstrong young musicians and writers determined from the outset to chart their own musical course, compromising for no one. In doing so they succeeded in creating a timeless body of work.
For What It's Worth :: Buffalo Springfield
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