Friday, September 12, 2008

The Falling Man 9-11

Yesterday was September 11th. Foxtel was running lots of documentaries on 9-11. I'd heard it all before. I was unwell but it made me feel 100 times worse. (If that's possible). But I couldn't stop watching. I then came across a documentary called 'The Falling Man'. The title should have stopped me in my tracks. But I still had to watch. The whole documentary was bassed on 1 photo of a man jumping to his death. I felt so sad for him.

I found this on the internet:

The picture was published around the world, causing widespread revulsion, as if merely looking at them was to intrude upon a moment of private agony. After September 12, the picture was rarely shown again, but Tom Junod couldn’t get the image out of his head and spent years trying to discover the identity of the Falling Man.
It was executive chef Michael Lomonaco who finally solved the mystery. "His co-worker Jonathan Briley fitted the body type, the skin colour, and it left the door open for a possibility that it was him".
Jonathan Briley worked at Windows on the World. Some of his coworkers, when they saw Richard Drew’s photographs, thought he might be the Falling Man. He was a light-skinned black man. He was over six five. He was forty-three. He had a mustache and a goatee and close-cropped hair. He had a wife named Hillary.
Jonathan Briley’s father is a preacher, a man who has devoted his whole life to serving the Lord. After September 11, he gathered his family together to ask God to tell him where his son was. No: He demanded it. He used these words: "Lord, I demand to know where my son is." For three hours straight, he prayed in his deep voice, until he spent the grace he had accumulated over a lifetime in the insistence of his appeal.
The next day, the FBI called. They’d found his son’s body. It was, miraculously, intact.
The preacher’s youngest son, Timothy, went to identify his brother. He recognized him by his shoes: He was wearing black high-tops. Timothy removed one of them and took it home and put it in his garage, as a kind of memorial.
Timothy knew all about the Falling Man. He is a cop in Mount Vernon, New York, and in the week after his brother died, someone had left a September 12 newspaper open in the locker room. He saw the photograph of the Falling Man and, in anger, he refused to look at it again. But he couldn’t throw it away. Instead, he stuffed it in the bottom of his locker, where—like the black shoe in his garage—it became permanent.
Jonathan’s sister Gwendolyn knew about the Falling Man, too. She saw the picture the day it was published. She knew that Jonathan had asthma, and in the smoke and the heat would have done anything just to breathe. . . .
The both of them, Timothy and Gwendolyn, knew what Jonathan wore to work on most days. He wore a white shirt and black pants, along with the high-top black shoes. Timothy also knew what Jonathan sometimes wore under his shirt: an orange T-shirt. Jonathan wore that orange T-shirt everywhere. He wore that shirt all the time. He wore it so often that Timothy used to make fun of him: When are you gonna get rid of that orange T-shirt, Slim?
But when Timothy identified his brother’s body, none of his clothes were recognizable except the black shoes. And when Jonathan went to work on the morning of September 11, 2001, he’d left early and kissed his wife goodbye while she was still sleeping. She never saw the clothes he was wearing. After she learned that he was dead, she packed his clothes away and never inventoried what specific articles of clothing might be missing.
Is Jonathan Briley the Falling Man?
Yes, Jonathan Briley might be the Falling Man. But the only certainty we have is the certainty we had at the start: At fifteen seconds after 9:41 a.m., on September 11, 2001, a photographer named Richard Drew took a picture of a man falling through the sky—falling through time as well as through space. The picture went all around the world, and then disappeared, as if we willed it away. One of the most famous photographs in human history became an unmarked grave, and the man buried inside its frame—the Falling Man—became the Unknown Soldier in a war whose end we have not yet seen. Richard Drew’s photograph is all we know of him, and yet all we know of him becomes a measure of what we know of ourselves. The picture is his cenotaph, and like the monuments dedicated to the memory of unknown soldiers everywhere.
From a family member: "Jonathan was a person who just loved life and it was contagious so that when we were around him, you couldn’t help smiling and laughing."

Nobody will ever know for sure if Jonathan was the Falling Man, although the evidence makes it highly likely.

I love this: "It’s not about trying to find out who he is, but what his death says to all of us." And what it says is … never again.

"God caught you in his hands and lifted you up to heaven".