Guarding History

Jodi Cobb / National Geographic / Getty Images

Black day: A Hong Kong protest in 1989 against the deaths

The five flagpoles that stand in front of the Star Ferry terminal at the tip of the Kowloon peninsula in Hong Kong have long been a popular meeting place. It was at this familiar spot 20 years ago that democracy advocates sold commemorative items to raise money for the victims of the June 4 crackdown at Beijing's Tiananmen Square. I bought one: a four-inch plastic replica of the Goddess of Democracy statue that had been erected at the square. For a 9-year-old trying to make sense of the world, that keepsake was a concrete link to the revolutionary scenes...

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