COD unveils memorial to those killed at Kent State
From Submitted Report May 19, 2012 6:30PM
College of DuPage students (from left) Caroline Davoust, Mackenzie Mitchell and Jacqueline Chaides look at the new memorial on campus to those who died in the Kent State shootings in the 1970s. | Courtesy of College of DuPage
Updated: July 1, 2012 12:36PM
In commemoration of the 42nd anniversary of the Kent State University shootings, College of DuPage officials recently unveiled a memorial created by Chicago artist Richard Rezac.
Crafted from wood from four memorial Silver Leaf maple trees removed during construction of the Homeland Security Education Center on the Glen Ellyn campus, the sculpture is one of the few times Rezac has worked with provided materials.
The final piece incorporates four trunk portions, as well as bronzed stems in a tabletop formation that features the original memorial plaque along with a poem by Marvin Bell, commemorating the four students killed May 4, 1970, and two students killed at Jackson State University just a few days later.
Naperville resident Carol Martin, a sophomore at Kent State in 1970, said the campus had not been a hotbed of unrest in the days leading up to the shooting as some believe.
“The National Guard came to campus and declared martial law. We had no fear and not one student on campus believed there were bullets in those guns,” she said. “It’s still so hard today to think of the fact that people were divided so much that their children were the enemy. I think it’s a cautionary tale for not letting the country divide us like that again.”
In addition to the Rezac sculpture in the Student Services Center, the college has planted four beech trees offset by a memorial marker by the Homeland Security Education Center to further remind students and visitors about the Kent State tragedy.
College of DuPage President Dr. Robert L. Breuder praised Rezac’s work and noted the significance of the newly planted trees.
“This magnificent creation is a tremendous expression of an event that struck a nation and shook the foundations of higher education,” Breuder said. “In addition, the strength and stateliness of the beech trees aptly placed near a new building that represents public safety and service will help us remember this tumultuous time in our history.”