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Bystanders to History
April 7, 2004 12:08 PM   Subscribe

I saw a feature on ESPN last night about Britt Gaston and Cliff Courtney, two Georgia teenagers who are indelibly linked to history as the kids who ran alongside Hank Aaron after the famous 715th home run. Then I googled around a bit and discovered Jim Leavelle, the former Dallas cop who will forever be known as the guy in the hat watching Ruby take care of Oswald in the precinct basement. And then there's Mary Ann Vecchio, a 14-year-old runaway who was photographed wailing over a dead body at Kent State in 1970. And, of course, there's Afghanistan Girl. Can anyone think of other bystanders to historical events whose faces we all know but identities remain anonymous? Is there anyone who has not yet been rediscovered?
posted by PrinceValium (25 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
The first person I thought of was this fellow, but his is more a form than a face.
posted by grabbingsand at 12:29 PM on April 7, 2004


What a cool idea. I think that's Rosy Greer, isn't it? That is Bobby Kennedy's assassination. Still, he's famous in his own right.
This one was always striking, but I don't know who those people are.
posted by putzface_dickman at 12:36 PM on April 7, 2004


From the AskMe thread which will soon be killed in favor of this one: posted by PrinceValium at 12:38 PM on April 7, 2004


... identities remain anonymous?
posted by atbash at 12:50 PM on April 7, 2004


You know the famous picture of a sailor kissing a girl in Times Square at the end of WWII? That was certainly an iconic image. I think I remember reading an article in which they tracked the girl down., but can't find it now.

Gaston and Courtney, in my opinion, still deserve weekly doorknob-sack beatings. The great moment of Aaron's triumph, the purity of the solitary athlete rounding the base paths - soiled forever by the intrusion of these mouth-breathing attention whores from Waycross, Ga.
posted by crunchburger at 12:52 PM on April 7, 2004


Gaston and Courtney, in my opinion, still deserve weekly doorknob-sack beatings. The great moment of Aaron's triumph, the purity of the solitary athlete rounding the base paths - soiled forever by the intrusion of these mouth-breathing attention whores from Waycross, Ga.

Since Aaron had received death threats leading up to the great moment, he first thought these guys intended harm. When he realized they meant no harm, I suspect he looked at them as barriers between him and any potential shooter, at which point he probably didn't mind there presence so much. It's sad that the moment was really spoiled for Aaron himself, as he had to fear for his life and that of his family instead of rejoicing in his accomplishment. The purity of the moment, at least for Aaron himself, was ruined way before the two kids jumped on the field.
posted by probablysteve at 1:05 PM on April 7, 2004


putzface_dickman The guy bending down and touching Martin is Jessie Jackson.
posted by haqspan at 1:10 PM on April 7, 2004


I've always wondered what happened to the man in Tiananmen Square. I've always presumed he was killed or injured in the events following the photograph, but Time Magazine tells me that "Nobody knows what happened to him even one hour after his moment in the world's living rooms." Does anyone here know what his fate was?
posted by anastasiav at 1:14 PM on April 7, 2004


probablysteve - interesting. Aaron was probably mostly relieved to have the whole thing over with.
posted by crunchburger at 1:19 PM on April 7, 2004


How about these kids (in Memphis, iirc) burning Beatles records? The one with his arms crossed has such a scowl on his face; I wonder if he's lightened up at all since then.
posted by obloquy at 1:51 PM on April 7, 2004


The subjects of Eisenstadt's "The Kiss" are said to be Edith Shain and Carl Muscarello. Linda Wertheimer interviewed them for NPR a while back, though I don't think the audio exists online.
posted by PrinceValium at 2:00 PM on April 7, 2004


I was always moved by the "napalm girl" in my history classes in school.
posted by fancypants at 2:10 PM on April 7, 2004


fancypants, she's Kim Phuc.
posted by obloquy at 2:24 PM on April 7, 2004


>The first person I thought of was this fellow, but his is more a form than a face.

The following events happened in extremely rapid succession:
* I read that text
* I clicked on that link
* The text percolated through my brain and I realized it could describe our constant friend and companion, Mr. Goatscx
* I closed the window
* I realized that it wasn't
posted by Capn at 3:22 PM on April 7, 2004


I don't have sources handy but Afghan girl and WTC Guy have been tracked down.
posted by stbalbach at 5:04 PM on April 7, 2004


As have Napalm Girl.
posted by laz-e-boy at 5:32 PM on April 7, 2004


I always wonder about random people, like the people you hear gasping during the shuttle disaster live video, or an old guy (messenger-ish looking) in the crowd while people were walking north from downtown on 9/11...oh, also, during the 77 blackout there's a guy who was caught by the cops while looting but twisted away and went free... (maybe it's just me?)
posted by amberglow at 5:43 PM on April 7, 2004


Oh, one of those guys is Andrew Young, in the Memphis King pic, putzface.
posted by amberglow at 5:45 PM on April 7, 2004


There's also this one from 9/11 which is fairly ubiquitous.
posted by PrinceValium at 5:48 PM on April 7, 2004


Surprised no one's mentioned these Vietnamese men. I believe the shooter was identified and, last I head he was living in Toronto. Could be b.s. though.
posted by dobbs at 7:59 PM on April 7, 2004


The "unknown" child from Titanic was called Eino Viljami Panula.
posted by severiina at 11:26 PM on April 7, 2004


Time Magazine tells me that "Nobody knows what happened to him even one hour after his moment in the world's living rooms." Does anyone here know what his fate was?

More depressing than the witnesses to historic events are those who are active participants like the man in Tiananmen Square and are still forgotten. It kinda says something about how peripherally we view these events that often drastically effected their lives. ...and we don't even bother to get their names for the 6:00 news.
posted by KnitWit at 4:56 AM on April 8, 2004


Apparently the identity of the vietnamese men is known.
posted by golo at 8:44 AM on April 8, 2004


Jean Hill, the "Lady in Red" in the Zapruder film.
posted by golo at 9:00 AM on April 8, 2004


The Vietnam man with the gun is the chief of the Vietnamese National Police, executing a Viet Cong guerrilla captain who had killed a number of his men. According to this, "No single image did more to create feeling among Americans that Vietnam was an immoral conflict." The photo won Eddie Adams the Pulitzer Prize.

"The film of the incident was broadcast to 20 million Americans on The Huntley-Brinkley Report on February 2, 1968." Quite a long way from today, when the Pentagon, in the words of this article from Toronto, "keeps [the] dead out of sight."
posted by LeLiLo at 2:12 PM on April 8, 2004


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