An Ongoing Legacy

A Year on

Over 200 students attended a candlelight vigil marking the anniversary of the Kent State and Jackson State shootings, as well as the consequences of continuing combat in Vietnam.  May 5, 1971.

Since 1971, the SUNY Plattsburgh community has gathered every May to commemorate the events of Kent State and Jackson State.  A spruce tree and plaque outside of the Kehoe Administration Building serve as a permanent remembrance to the students killed and injured, and to those whose lives were forever altered by the events of those dark days.


Images from a day of infamy at Kent State on the program for SUNY Plattsburgh's 2018 memorial event. 


Alan Canfora, a survivor of the Kent State shootings, was a guest at SUNY Plattsburgh's 2014 commemoration.

The May 4th Coalition seen in the photo was formed by Kent State students in 1977.  The group fought to ensure that the events of 1970 did not fall victim to the passage of time or to the whims of the university's administration.  They vehemently opposed plans to build an athletic complex near the site of the shootings.


Vietnam Veterans Against the War and Plattsburgh State students demonstrate on Margaret Street during the Spring Peace Action.  May 1, 1972.

Somber Celebration

Students involved in a sit-in on campus.  The poster reads "Everyone Loves a Dead Son - Happy Mother's Day".  May 1970.

While much of the antiwar protest work accomplished at Plattsburgh State over the course of a decade has not left a visible trace, the permanent memorial and yearly commemorations serve as a window into a tumultuous time in the country, and how it was experienced on the campus.  They serve as a reflection on the solidarity forged between students, faculty, and the community when they came together seeking to bring about an end to a war they felt defied justice, decency, and the spirit of the American people.  They persisted in this objective even in the face of great adversity and condemnation.

Economic Pressure

Students Rhona Robitaille (L) and Nancy Baker participating in a boycott of companies giving material support to US forces in Vietnam.  May 13, 1972.

The Vietnam War created mass social and political upheaval and caused permanent ecological devastation and destruction.  It claimed the lives of over 3 million people.  The average age of the 58,220 Americans who died there was 23 years.