Tuesday, June 4, 2013

June 4: "Tank Man"

On this date in History .... June 4, 1989 (it was June 4 in the U.S. and June 5 in Beijing):

A young man became an icon of bravery when he stood in front of tanks in Tiananmen Square and stopped them in their tracks, and then climbed on top of the lead tank, waving his arms as if to “Shoo!” them away. His identity was never discovered and he was dubbed “Tank Man”.  After climbing on top of the tank, the brave Tank Man was whisked away by a group of people, never to be seen again.

This photo was taken by photographer Jeff Widener the day after the Tiananmen Square Massacre, and got him named as a finalist in the 1990 Pulitzer Awards. Jeff was surprised the photo even turned out. He had run out of film and sent a student to find more. The student returned a couple of hours later with a roll of Fuji 100 ISO film that he had gotten from a tourist.  Those who know anything about film and photography know that ISO 100 film is not the greatest quality at all. Two of the three photos turned out blurry.

Even though the photo was banned in China, it is one of the most widely circulated photos in the world.  Here is a video of the scene:


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