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Kent State's May 4 Shooting Site Gets National Historic Landmark Designation

photo of historical marker
After the shootings, President Nixon expedited the passage of the 26th amendment, which lowered the voting age from 21 to 18, as a conciliatory gesture toward America's youth.

The site of the May 4th Kent State University shootings is now a national historic landmark. The 1970 shooting of 13 students—four of whom died—by the Ohio National Guard is considered a turning point in public perception of the Vietnam War.

Laura Davis was a freshman at Kent State when the shooting took place. In 2012, she was part of a group that applied to make the site an historic landmark.

She says the landmark designation reinforces the national impact of the shooting, including the withdrawal of ground troops from Cambodia and changes in how the government handles protests.

“It no longer was going to be a matter of course that guardsmen would come onto a campus with loaded weapons," Davis said.

Davis hopes the site’s new status will help visitors place the shooting in a broader historical context.

“By knowing these particular stories, we can react better, think things through better, connect things better in our minds, so that we can be better citizens today,” she said.

The landmark designation does not automatically entitle the site to federal money, but the status could make it easier to get funding in the future.