We may never know for sure who Tank Man was, nor whether he knew in that moment what his image would become. He would be entering his 50's or perhaps 60's now, though we can assume he did not see that age, or at least that he never enjoyed the freedoms that his act of defiance represented. He likely never worried about being out of fashion, or watching his hair thin or his back become crooked with age.
I was still in the womb when he likely died, and I am already older than he likely was then. As a westerner, the image of Tank Man has always been an "easy" one, which paints oppression as a foreign, mechanical other. And to be sure, I have lived a life of relative freedom and comfort compared to his. But he stood, and thousands of others stood, for something both immediate to themselves and at the same time beyond any individual conflict, beyond any one nation or cause.
His spirit is still standing, timeless and large in spite of, if not because of, its human scale.
In any event I hope I did this topic some justice.