june 4th

I wrote this last year. This year marks the 25th anniversary. (Also, I suppose, 25 years since I graduated high school.)


I was a senior in high school. I would be graduating soon. I had written my 2-minute salutation a week or so prior so it could be vetted by the graduation coordinator. In the speech, I interwove events from the year in the news, popular culture, and school culture (e.g. people lined up in Russia for food; they lined up around theaters in the US for the opening of the 3rd and final (hah!) installment of Indiana Jones; and they lined up around our school for the sold out performances of Grease, our spring musical). In the speech, I talked about the hopeful student protests in Tiananmen Square. And then June 4th happened. The tanks rolled in. I had to change my speech between writing it and delivering it because what looked hopeful and peaceful had become deadly. It cemented those events forever in my mind.

Jemma writes here

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3 Responses to june 4th

  1. Deanna Long says:

    Billy and Muerner were teaching in China when it happened. They came home shortly. I do not remember the change you had to make in your speech! You always did the best! I do remember you formulating the ideas for the speech.

  2. I was a busy young mom 24 years ago, with a 22 month old daughter – and barely remember this. I never really watched television. Now that daughter is almost 26 and getting married in two weeks.

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