In Memoriam: Sandra Lee Scheuer
Remembrance offered 4 May 2007 at Kent State University by Brad Cotton
Lord: I pray that I may speak your words.
My name is Brad Cotton, I am a Kent State alumni from the School of
Nursing, I now work as an emergency department physician, where I see the results
of violence daily. I have not been to a May 4th event since 1977. I knew I had
to come today as my nation escalates yet another immoral war. It feels like
April-May 1970 again. I speak also as a Quaker, Quakers sponsored the "Eyes
Wide Open" exhibit you see here, a pair of boots for every Ohio combat
death in Iraq. I speak also as a member of Veterans for Peace.
I am glad to see so many younger people here today, It seems sometimes that
us older, aging hippies, formerly with long hair, and now as you can see
with no hair, are the ones leading this new peace movement. I have brought
my daughter with me, so that she may learn of these times that shaped our
history, and shaped her father
I am here to talk of another father's beloved daughter, Sandra Lee Scheuer,
killed here May 4 1970. I did not know Sandra personally, I was in high
school at the time of her death.
I did briefly meet her parents, Sarah and Martin Scheuer when they were
arrested with 194 of us July 12, 1977 trying to stop the construction of
the gym that occupies portions of Blanket Hill. I am told that Sarah and Martin
Scheuer were German Jewish survivors of the Holocaust . Sarah, Sandy's
mother writes: " We left Germany to guarantee that our daughters could live
in freedom." I am sorry their daughter died here, in the way she did, at
the hands of state power.
Sandy was 20 years old, an honors student in speech therapy. I knew some
speech therapy students when I was here, that is a tough program, requires
a lot of hard work and dedication. Sandy was not a participant in the
demonstration that day, she was walking to class, 130 yards from the
Guardsmen's rifle that killed her.
Sandy's friend Marty Levick writes: " Her long graceful stride had moved
her in the exact rhythmic harmony of the pulsating beat of her life. She was
alive and overwhelmed by the greatness of her existence. She had a quiet
grace that penetrated even the hardest core and caused a smile from
everyone she encountered. She was unique as an individual, her beautiful dark hair
framed her angelic face with an aura of innocence. Yet she had experienced
much in her long twenty years of being. She was developing into a woman of
quiet joy and peaceful acceptance. This is Sandy, a friend I will always
remember and cherish till my life no longer is. She was an extremely kind
person always willing to help anyone in trouble. She was a perfect
listener, her advice greatly respected.. She was loved tenderly by her family and
friends, always assured a place to return to filled with warmth and
happiness. We loved to laugh, to find pleasure in every small incident of
living. I feel useless without Sandy's comforting presence. When I cry she
is there. When I live, love, and die she will be with me to experience
every minute. Sandy was my friend. I am a very fortunate boy."
I held a candle early this morning at the spot Sandy was killed. I was
moved by the Jewish custom of placing memory stones there. I felt I was holding
back the darkness that had entered into the Guardsman that shot her, the
darkness that entered into the officer we can now hear giving the order to
fire. This same darkness led my nation into the Vietnam War, and this same
darkness caused my nation to launch "Shock and Awe" on Iraq March 19, 2003.
I pray that we can be light against this darkness. Those of us who know
that Jesus never launched a war, that his ministry was one of boundless
compassion, that his only angry words were directed against the
church/state establishment of his time that ultimately killed him, we must be heard in
our national discourse. We must not cede the faith and values debate to the
war makers and the torturers I pray for peace to Sandy's family, peace to
all the others hurt on this hill and to all the victims of the Vietnam and
Iraq Wars. Peace to you and yours.
Circleville Friends ( Quaker) Worship Group
Cindy Sheehan, Brad, and Lauren Cotton at the Kent State Memorial