The man who directed CNN’s live coverage of the Tiananmen Square protest, including the heart-stopping footage off the guy who singlehandedly stopped a column of tanks, called it a career today. Roger Strauss was one of the few remaining “CNN Originals,” folks who have been at the cable news network since its 1980 launch. He started directing in 1982 and ran the control room for more than 19,000 live shows. “This is someone who has truly had a front-row seat to history — to some of the most important and dramatic events of our lifetime,” CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin, whose show he has directed, said on the air today.

Strauss was in the CNN director’s chair for such historic events as the O.J. Simpson trials, the bombing of Baghdad and the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, Tiananmen Squarebut he called the Tiananmen Square coverage “probably my most stressful day of work.” He added, “I was sitting there directing in the control room, and there’s three guys from the Chinese army standing back there in the row behind me and they were carrying machine guns. … All the while, we’re doing live TV from the site in China.”