Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Out to Dekalb-- Part 1: Memories of Kent State

This past Saturday, Oct. 8th, we drove to Northern Illinois University in Dekalb for the Huskie football game against the Golden Flashes of Kent State. Both teams are in the Mid American Conference, the MAC.

Of course, Kent State is where the anti-war shootings took place 41 years ago that sparked all the campus unrest. It hit NIU about a week later when a march from campus to downtown led by Milwaukee's Father Groppi resulted in a major confrontation at the Lincoln Highway Bridge over the Kishwaukee River (the original Lincoln Highway, today Il-38, was Dekalb's main street).

Police from a number of agencies were on one side and the students on the west. Rocks were thrown and a general attack came from the law enforcement types and the confrontation continued across campus to the dorms.

I was a freshman at Lincoln Hall and watched the fight continue across Anne Glidden Road. I really thought I was witnessing the end of the country, and possibly myself. Then, the fire alarm went off.

We exited the building and then an explosion occurred on the other side of the building. Went over there and students had turned over a university vehicle and set fire to it. It was burning and students watching it. The police were circling the area in cars. Most of the windows in the physical plant had been broken.

We decided to return to the dorm and shortly afterwards all sorts of hell broke loose as the police moved in and started cracking student heads and arresting.

I can remember the campus radio station, WNIU, playing Melanie's "Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)" and thinking the song was very appropriate. That song still takes me back.

A Mighty Scary Time. --RoadDog

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