Flavor of the Week: “Ohio” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
“Ohio” is a mega-#throwbackthursday (technically #waybackwednesday) because it was written and recorded in 1970 by the famous band everyone’s daddy loves, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Although it kills me that this band does not use an Oxford Comma in its title, like come on, I still give these guys serious props for writing a Vietnam War protest song about a chic college student that sacrificed life for peace.
For those of you unaware, on May 4, 1970, students at Kent State in Ohio were protesting Richard Nixon and the Cambodian Campaign. Eventually, the protest got so buckwild that the Ohio National Guard was called in. 67 rounds were fired, 9 students were wounded, and 4 died. John Filo, who is not currently a hipster even though I really expected him to be, took a phenomenal photograph of Mary Anne Vecchio, a 14-year-old runaway, kneeling and sobbing over the dead body of Jeffrey Miller, a shot student. Mr. Filo won a Pulitzer Prize for this photograph. He also won a FYD Award because when I was in fourth grade, I decided I was going to be obsessed with both this photograph and the song “Ohio” by Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young (yes, I did insert that Oxford Comma).
I first heard “Ohio” while sitting in the backseat of my uncle’s car when I was eight. He told me that it was about a protest and I was really into protests and hippies at the time. Consequently, I decided that I just had to write my next school paper on this song, “Ohio,” and its deep emotional and cultural significance. Disclaimer: I swear on sleepaway camp that this is 100% a true story. I, a mere fourth grader with a taste for orange corduroy pants, Harvey Milk, and rainbow peace signs, decided to write my “Social Studies” report on the Kent State Massacre and a song by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. This historical happening became my sheer infatuation. I was literally, like, really literally obsessed with it. My essay may or may not have caused my father to cry tears of joy and pride. My teacher, who was likely on a lot of laxatives at the time (or so we thought) was shocked at my paper topic. I genuinely wonder: will my uniquely-named children be writing papers on Ke$ha, making their elementary school teachers in awe of how hipster they are? I can only hope.
Listen to “Ohio” here: