Is Jonathan Briley the Falling Man on 9/11? Richard Drew Knows?

Filed in Gather News Channel by on August 31, 2011 0 Comments

Perhaps Jonathan Briley is the “Falling Man” in a 9/11 photo taken a decade ago. But to photographer Richard Drew, the person in the picture plummeting to his death is an “unknown soldier.”

It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since two planes, under the control of terrorists, crashed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center complex. It is another day that will live in infamy.

Just ask anyone near Ground Zero at 8:46 a.m. that day. The stories will all sound distinct and have various angles based on what witnesses saw, heard, felt, or even tasted that day.

World Trade Center fogBut one thing they all have in common is a feeling of unmasked fear coming from the deepest pits of their being.

Not in America—not in the Land of the Free, the Home of the Brave should the fabric of democracy be disturbed, marred by warped ideology. But in an instant, life for the free world would never be the same.

On 9/11, the Jonathan Briley “Falling Man” photo became part of the visual history that changed the political, social, and psychological landscapes of America, thanks to an AP photographer, says this news report.

Unlike scores of others, Richard Drew, 64, did not witness the crashing of both planes into the World Trade Center buildings. But he did what he’s done for countless years as an award-winning photographer—take pictures. To him, it was work. And today it’s still work, but no less meaningful.

It’s nothing one plans for, or even practices for; it’s just the luck of the draw that allows one to capture the most iconic pictures that tell a story of the voiceless subjects in the grainy shots. Once such picture was the capturing of a man falling to his death from the burning skyscraper.

The faceless man in the picture is more than likely a 43-year-old sound engineer who worked in an eatery high atop the WTC. Perhaps the world is uncertain of his name, but his loved ones bear the scars of his absence.

Media outlets and curiosity seekers all speculated on the identity of the doomed man, but Richard Drew saw it differently. He’s not void of compassion, but to him, the person is an “unknown solider” and perhaps that’s the way the world should remember him—not for who he was, but what he represented.

As one person said, unlike many other historic shots taken over time, this one is void of violence, the macabre, the darkness that typified a person’s last moments before death claims their last breath.

On his Jonathan Briley “Falling Man” iconic photo during 9/11, Drew says:

“I don’t need to be here to commemorate what happened to me. I record history every day…it’s all part of history, no matter how small or how large.”

Indeed.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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