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May 24, 2014

Step Back in Time: May 24, 2014

25 years agoMay 24, 1989

DELHI — Last Wednesday, early in the morning, Sheldon Kruger awoke to the sounds of political revolution picking up speed on the avenue below his ninth floor balcony at the Beijing Hotel.

The Delhi Tech president returned late last week from China on the eve of his school’s 72nd graduation with a diary full of accounts of events there. Kruger had just spent two weeks in the right place at the right time to witness history.

Kruger watched the people in the square from his balcony by night. By day, he joined the massive throng.

“I went to the square every day and talked with the students,” he said. “I never felt at any time that we would be done any injury.

“It was a lot safer on Tiananmen Square than it is on Times Square on New Year’s Eve.”

For that Wednesday, May 17, he wrote in the diary: “Awoke at 3 a.m. and the street below was unusually busy. Students and others on bicycles were going to and from Tiananmen Square. Ambulance sirens have become a familiar sound all through the night.”

The ambulances carried hunger-striking students off to hospitals for medical care, then turned around and came back for more.

Kruger was in China for his third visit, this time for the purpose of addressing educators at a symposium on two-year college programs. What he watched and listened to for several days was a changing China, as students rode a growing wave of public sentiment for democratic reform. Soon, students from all over China were flooding into Beijing and up the main artery, Changd’n Avenue, to the square. The groundswell had become a tidal wave.

Step Back in Time features news items from The Daily Star 25 and 50 years ago.

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