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Mon May 3, 2021, 01:22 AM

The girl in the Kent State photo: She was only 14. Here's how her life turned out




Last May, when Mary Ann Vecchio watched the video of George Floyd’s dying moments, she felt herself plummet through time and space — to a day almost exactly 50 years earlier. On that May 4 afternoon in 1970, the world was just as riveted by an image that showed the life draining out of a young man on the ground, this one a black-and-white still photo.

Mary Ann was at the center of that photo, her arms raised in anguish, begging for help.

That photo, of her kneeling over the body of Kent State University student Jeffrey Miller, is one of the most important images of the 20th century. Taken by student photographer John Filo, it captures Mary Ann’s raw grief and disbelief at the realization that the nation’s soldiers had just fired at its own children.

The Kent State Pietà, as it’s sometimes called, is one of those rare photos that fundamentally changed the way we see ourselves and the world around us. Like the image of the solitary protester standing in front of a line of tanks in Tiananmen Square. Or the photo of Kim Phuc, the naked Vietnamese girl fleeing the napalm that has just incinerated her home. Or the image of Aylan Kurdi’s tiny, 3-year-old body facedown in the sand, he and his mother and brother having drowned while fleeing Syria.

These images shocked our collective conscience — and insisted that we look. But eventually we look away, unaware, or perhaps unwilling, to think about the suffering that went on long after the shutter has snapped — or of the cost to the human beings trapped inside those photos. “That picture hijacked my life,” says Mary Ann, now 65. “And 50 years later, I still haven’t really moved on.”





https://www.kansascity.com/entertainment/arts-culture/article250930469.html#storylink=cpy

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Response to RandySF (Original post)

Mon May 3, 2021, 02:48 AM

1. What an amazing saga this woman has lived. Thanks for posting.

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Response to LuckyLib (Reply #1)

Mon May 3, 2021, 09:42 AM

11. A traumatic time for the nation.

I remember hearing a celebrity, but don't remember which one, saying, "Oh my God. We're killing our own children now."

But I also remember hearing a lot of people saying, "They asked for it. Shouldn't have been demonstrating."

But, aside from such a calloused attitude, it wasn't even true. The kids who died were not part of the demonstrations. They were just students on their way buildings on campus.

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Response to RandySF (Original post)

Mon May 3, 2021, 04:11 AM

2. I'll always remember that photo

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Response to RandySF (Original post)

Mon May 3, 2021, 04:47 AM

3. VERY interesting ... THANKS for posting this. 👍 nt

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Response to RandySF (Original post)

Mon May 3, 2021, 05:16 AM

4. She seems like an exceptional person...

...but I don't think that photo ruined her life, as much as it helped define it. Which of course, can be a mixed blessing, because we can't always control how we are defined. Mary Ann Vecchio represents the better part of human nature.


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Response to RandySF (Original post)

Mon May 3, 2021, 05:54 AM

5. Great read. K&R!

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Response to RandySF (Original post)

Mon May 3, 2021, 06:25 AM

6. I lived in Opa Locka, Florida for twenty years. This is such an amazing biography.

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Response to RandySF (Original post)

Mon May 3, 2021, 07:12 AM

7. Honestly, if not for that photo and the (near immediate) release of CSN&Y's 'Ohio' anthem...

I honestly think Nixon's RW thugs might have succeeded in permanently rewriting history on this and related anti-war incidents.

Sometimes it is a photo. Sometimes it is an incredibly poignant song. Both leave us feeling haunted.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #7)

Mon May 3, 2021, 02:36 PM

15. The song helps me remember "4 dead in Ohio."

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Response to RandySF (Original post)

Mon May 3, 2021, 07:42 AM

8. Oh my goodness...

what a powerful, poignant story. Thank you very much for posting.

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Response to RandySF (Original post)

Mon May 3, 2021, 07:47 AM

9. "see what just happened here?" - thanks

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Response to RandySF (Original post)

Mon May 3, 2021, 08:28 AM

10. Should Never Have Happened

Somebody had to give the order to use real ammunition on those kids and I’m guessing it was the Governor. One of my best friends was up there but thankfully she didn’t get hit.

This still angers me all these years later.

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Response to colsohlibgal (Reply #10)

Mon May 3, 2021, 09:53 AM

13. A friend of mine was a Kent freshman at the time.

She said that when the demonstrations escalated on Friday night, she knew it would get worse abd went home for the weekend. As news came in about demonstrations at Kent and on other campuses over the weekend, her parents insisted that she stay home on Monday. So she was home when the shootings occurred. She knew some of the kids who had been shot. She never returned to Kent. Transferred to another school.

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Response to RandySF (Original post)

Mon May 3, 2021, 09:47 AM

12. Has that photo been altered?

I remember seeing it with blood draining from a head shot.

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Response to alphafemale (Reply #12)

Mon May 3, 2021, 10:25 AM

14. Photo as it ran on May 5th in Ohio's largest newspaper:

I can't imagine there would have been time to retouch it back then. That was a morning paper too.

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Response to RandySF (Original post)

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