When I imagine 30 years ago, I think 1970-something. I do not think 1989; yet, that is exactly 30 years ago. Imagine my surprise when I come across a New York Times article (read it here) about the protest and Tankman. After reading the headline it occurred to me I am the exact same age as my oldest is now when that happened. My oldest has never sat down and watch the news or read a news article of his accord ever in his life. I distinctly remember the local and the national news being on the tv every night. Our family may not have been actively watching every minute with bated breath but it was on and something was being absorbed.
I will never forget watching that young man standing in front of those tanks. It is permanently etched into my memory. I remember all the questions: what will happen to this guy, what kind of government would mow down their own citizens, how bad does the government have to be that a person is willing to stand in front of a giant tank? It boggles the mind. Nothing is known about what happened to the guy. There is a lot of speculation. I can’t imagine the Chinese government allowed him to live. Still, it’s kind to crazy to think that was 30 years ago. It seems like the blink of an eye.
I pulled my oldest aside and showed him the story. I told him I remember being angry. I mean what teenager isn’t angry? But, I distinctly remember being very angry at that situation. What is the world coming to that you have to stand in front of a tank? I get it now. I’m older and I understand a few more things but at that time I couldn’t wrap my head around it all. A couple years later (1991) we’d see the First Gulf War. And, again I felt scared and angry. My kids have never known a time when we didn’t have a military presence somewhere in the middle east. In some ways, we’ve been fighting a war since 2001. They have no idea about current events. They know who the President is and that’s it. Maybe it’s time to bring back the nightly news. Is it even still on? The last time I watched the evening news Tom Brokaw was an anchor. Wow, it really has been 30 years hasn’t it?
Photo Credit: I lifted this off the internet. It probably belongs to someone but I’m using it as fair use since this image is 30 years old and I’m not making any money off of it. No copyright infringement intended. Don’t sue me, I’m broke. Just ask me to take it down if it belongs to you.