Never throughout history has a man who lived a life of ease left a name worth remembering.
The picture above has to be one of the greatest photos ever taken. Every time I view the picture it makes me want to be a better person, someone who stands for something, a man with real conviction. A man does not decide to stand in front of a tank for just anything. Protestors were killed both before and after this picture was taken in Tiananmen Square China 1989, and there is no reason to think that the man standing in front of the column of tanks was not expecting the same fate. As guys I think that we are attracted to images like this one or of Che Guevara, JFK, Martin Luther King Jr. or a myriad of others because we long to be people with a cause. We so desperately want to care about anything deeply enough to undertake great risk to achieve it, even to the point where we will sometimes ignore that a person did something wrong just so that we can idolize them as a person that did anything at all.
The man in the picture was one of thousands of protestors that showed up for the demonstrations that year, protests for democracy in the middle of an international landmark of anti-democratic ideas and beliefs. What started as a student protest, then grew, but was ultimately put down. Ironically, the street on which this revolutionary event took place is translated into English as eternal peace street a name most definitely reflected in the actions of the protestor.
Just to be clear, I fully understand the irony of writing a post titled A Name Worth Remembering when the name of the subject is not even known. There is some debate over who the person in the picture actually is and what became of him after this photo, but for the purpose of this post we are more focused on the action than on the specific life story of the person. There are a ton of corny metaphors and object lessons that could be made from this picture, but instead of doing that let me leave you (and myself) with just one question. Is there anything in your life that you are stand in front of a column of tanks passionate about? If you cannot answer yes to this question then there are some serious issues that need to be addressed.