Tank Man

Twenty-four years ago today this happened:

He was an ordinary man, on his way home from work. Perhaps he had stopped off at the grocery store. Somehow, the prosaic plastic shopping bags he held in each hand lend power and poignancy to the scene. Seeing the line of tanks advancing, he decided that he had had enough. In the two days before, unarmed civilians had been massacred in Tiananmen Square. Knowing this, he stood all by himself facing down a line of tanks, armed not with a rifle or even so much as a can of tear gas, but simply with moral indignation and courage so audacious it takes your breath away. The “Tank Man” was hustled away and has never definitively been identified. His fate is unknown. But his act of extraordinary bravery inspired the world and will never be forgotten.

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