The Day I Learned What Courage Was

Jun 04 2009 Published by under Do Something

On June 5th, 1989, the world got to see exactly what courage is. One man, in a white shirt and dark pants, carrying shopping bags, faced down a company of tanks. The whole world saw the images of his simple courage. His name and his fate remain a mystery - all that is known about his entire life is what he did for a few brief minutes on one terrible day.

A Facebook page has been created to celebrate the legacy of the Tank Man. Please take a few minutes to help demonstrate how important those moments were by becoming a fan.

7 responses so far

  • Mike Licht says:

    Tank Man lives. Updates of this iconic image are all over the Web today. Here, for example:
    http://notionscapital.wordpress.com/2009/06/03/20th-anniversary-of-tiananmen-square/

  • Grouken says:

    I wonder how many other individuals have gotten mowed down throughout history, though, doing this sort of thing. Because they all matter too.
    The memory of them may have been what helped this event go as (relatively) well as it did for this guy.
    You haven't seen them before because giants were standing on their shoulders.

  • Anon says:

    There is a stunning newly-published picture of Tank Man at the NY Times "Lens Blog".
    http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/04/behind-the-scenes-a-new-angle-on-history/?partner=rss&emc=rss
    From street level, before the more iconic shots (all from hotel balconies, iirc). Makes me shiver to look at it.

  • Gerry L says:

    At this very moment I am watching the 2006 Frontline episode titled "The Tankman" http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/tankman/
    It goes beyond the Tankman incident to the whole Tiananmen Square revolt and to the results of the economic trade off that the Chinese government made with the populace.

  • Monado says:

    I remember the day before the Tiananmen Square massacre. A couple of the women at work were talking about how wonderful it was that the demonstrators had defied an ultimatum from the government and weren't going to back down. And I thought, "They've signed their own death warrants." A government of a billion people would not dare to let one group defy them for fear of losing control. So the next day I was appalled but not surprised.

  • dissentingopinion says:

    If he was really brave, wouldn't he have stayed in front of the tank instead of letting himself get herded away?

  • Mike Olson says:

    I always felt this guy epitomized the fight for liberty and human rights. As they were predominantly college students intellectual rights and abilities rising above the oppressive faceless mass of communism also came to mind. I have to admit I was ultimately disappointed. They lost their fight largely. I was serving as a Navy corpsman at the time. We certainly don't/didn't need a war with China but I was amazed we'd get involved in a convoluted middle eastern fracas fighting for unbelievably wealthy families while leaving these students and Iraqi Kurds to hang. Clearly, in international relations finance trumps basic human rights and intellectual idealism.