Howdy. First of all I want to thank the Kent State cops because I've been coming here for twenty-two years and I was never once hassled by the cops until this morning. I was feeling kind of neglected.
So some reactionary asshole called in a false complaint alleging that I had pissed on a wall. And of course we had to run through the ID and do this and do that. Well, for the record, I did take a piss this morning, It was in Prentice Hall not on Prentice Hall.
This is the greatest hour of my life to stand here before you people. What I'm here for is to say thank you to Jeff Miller. Thank you Jeff Miller! I know you hear me now. I know you heard me this morning when I stood where you died. I know you hear us every year because you come back here each spring just as we do. I know what it means when four black ravens fly over us at sunrise at the vigil site. Thank you Jeff Miller for being a hero and a patriot of the highest order. I thank you on behalf of all my friends that were in Vietnam and made it back alive because you died, because you were tough enough to face the National Guard and scream at them while they killed you. Because you knew the danger and you felt the fear. But your spirit was strong and you overcame them. On behalf of all the people of North and South Vietnam, I thank you Jeff Miller. I thank you for your guts and your courage. I thank you for putting yourself on the front line that day in May.
Today most of us have forgotten the hideous havoc that we were reeking upon people of North and South Vietnam. To forget that is to forget why Jeff Miller was executed. He died to stop the expansion of a war that had already wasted over half a million lives of our Asian brothers and sisters, to stop the wanton slaughter from infecting more of the world at an exponential rate. Do you remember that we routinely incinerated entire villages of people that were just suspected of helping the Viet Cong?
Jeff Miller died because we were killing innocent children whose parents were good at growing rice that might be eaten by the wrong side. But you have to remember just how though and courageous Jeff Miller was. The Guard knew how tough Jeff Miller was. And that's why when they were having their little conspiracy meeting in the parking lot, just prior to the shooting, they put their top marksman on Jeff. And if you don't believe that there was a conspiracy to kill a few of those hippie, pinko, commie, freaks so that the Guard could all go home to their families and drug store jobs. If you believe that all those soldiers started shooting at the same second by some kind of random coincidence than you're a complete and utter fool.
The top marksman did his job perfectly putting a bullet trough Jeff's open mouth on signal and blowing his brains out. Jeff was a marked man because of his courage. So was flag bearer, Alan Canfora. But his shooter was just a bit slower which gave Alan a split second that was needed to turn a fatal bullet into a wound. The top marksman did his job well but the strange thing is that he couldn't really kill Jeff Miller completely.
Jeff Miller was so powerful and courageous that he became part of an eternal stream of heroes who saw death and suffering and did what they had to do to stop it. Jeff's spirit inspired a million more hippie freaks to get out and do anything and everything that had to be done to stop the war. Jeff Miller changed the course of history despite the best efforts of the history books and this goddamn university to obliterate the spirit of Jeff Miller.
Well you couldn't stop us then and you can't stop us now. Thank you Jeff Miller for continuing to inspire us today. Those of us that are here today and those of us that share with us in spirit all over the world today, are part of Jeff's legacy because we believe it is our duty to pick up the torch that was knocked down by the National Guard on May 4, 1970.
Jeff Miller died because the love, compassion and kindness in his great big pacifist heart compelled him to do everything in his power to stop the wholesale slaughter of innocent men, women and children by our government. Jeff Miller was a one in a million. Jeff's destiny was sealed before he even reached the fourth grade. I know this because at the age of ten he and a friend determined that they needed to conduct a study of racism in America before it could be fought at the age of ten. Jeff's mom only became aware of this effort when Ebony magazine called to praise her son for his concern and his resourcefulness. We all need to thank Jeff's mom, Elaine and his older brother, Russ for giving us such a unique and kind and caring young man. We also need to thank them for enduring the unimaginable pain in coming back to the site of their son's murder for all these years.
Listen to what Jeff wrote at the tender but knowing age of fifteen years:
Jeff Miller's legacy, his gifts to us today and every day is the love, the compassion, the kindness that compelled him to act, the love, the compassion, the kindness that compelled him to act.
Be a part of Jeff's spirit by concentrating as hard as you can on sharing your love, your compassion and your kindness with all the people around you and with the people on the other side of the world, always and everywhere.
Do you believe that Jeff Miller was a hero? I would like you to join with me in thanking him so loud and clear that we're sure that him and his family can hear us everywhere. All you guys got to do on a count of three [is] say with me, as loud as you can, "Thank you Jeff Miller." ONE. TWO. THEEE.
THANK YOU JEFF MILLER!
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