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Remember 'Tank Man' from China's Tiananmen Square in 1989?

There is an image that a lot of folks who were around in 1989 will remember forever. I watched it go down on live TV, and it has stuck with me to this day. Meet "Tank Man."

Remember 'Tank Man' from China's Tiananmen Square in 1989?

Beginning in the late-1970s, the Communist Party of China began to move the country toward a more privately-owned system in both agriculture and industry. It caused some problems.

With it came nepotism, graft, and kickbacks to those who had money and power — in other words, those who held government and party positions. Accompanying those problems was a continuation of the state-run press, which had no freedoms other than what the Communist Party allowed.

Soon, shortages of food, basic necessities, and a lack of jobs for students who had previously pretty much been guaranteed work began to stir people into action — especially young people.


Tiananmen Square one year before the massacre. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Right in the heart of Beijing, China's Tiananmen Square in June of 1989 was alight with students and other protesters, who held it for over three weeks.

They called for freedom of speech, freedom of the press, government accountability, and restoration of workers' control over their workplaces and industry. Among other things.

Known as the Tiananmen Square Massacre, the June Fourth Incident, and the '89 Democracy Movement, the protests were squashed by the Chinese government and Communist Party by military force. China never let the true figures be known, but estimates are that at least 200 — and possibly three or four times that — were killed over the course of a few days, ending on June 4, 1989. Ultimately, the protests were halted.

Images via CNN.

The "Tank Man" cometh.

One of the most recognizable images from those protests is of a solitary man the day after the protests were violently squashed, with shopping bags in his hands. He approached and stopped a vast column of tanks and bravely stood in front of them as they drove toward him heading to Tiananmen Square. Eventually, he was seen knocking on the entrance to the tank before being taken away — by whom? It's still not solved.

While the government eventually cracked down on protesters and supporters and even expelled all foreign journalists, the images and short video of "Tank Man" remain. Nobody knows who he was or what his destiny became, but he lives on in the spirit of protests to this day and the willingness of a common everyday person to take a stand and fight back.


In every culture, there are people like this who are willing to give their lives — and in some cases, do just that — for others to be free.

The heroism and the dedication of these people is something I hold onto when it feels like we're in the darkest of times, and it gives me hope.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Welp, the two skateboarding events added to the Olympics this year have wrapped up for the women's teams, and the results are historic in more ways than one.

Japan's Kokona Hiraki, age 12, just won the silver medal in women's park skateboarding, making her Japan's youngest Olympic medalist ever. Great Britain's Sky Brown, who was 12 when she qualified for the Tokyo Olympics and is now 13, won the bronze, making her Great Britain's youngest medalist ever. And those two medal wins mean that two-thirds of the six medalists in the two women's skateboarding events are age 13 or younger. (The gold and silver medalists in women's street skateboarding, Japan's Momiji Nishiya and Brazil's Rayssa Leal, are also 13.)

That's mind-blowing.

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