The Story Behind the Haunting 9/11 Photo of a Man Falling From the Twin Towers


The most widely seen images from 9/11 are of the planes and towers, but not really the people. “Falling Man,” however, is different.

This tragically profound photo, was taken by Richard Drew shortly after the September 11, 2001, attacks. It’s one man’s desperate escape from the collapsing buildings and suffocating fumes. A man who accepted his death, and refused to suffer anymore through it. On a day of great tragedy, “Falling
Man” is one of the only well known pictures that shows someone dying.

The photo was originally published in newspapers
around the United States in the days after the attacks, but anger and outrage from readers
forced it into temporary hibernation. It is certainly a controversial and heart breaking image to view and contemplate.

Falling Man’s identity is unknown still to this day,
but he is believed to have been an employee at the the World
restaurant, which sat at the top of the north tower. The true power of “Falling
Man”, however, is  not  who he was, but how he came to be the embodiment of that terrible day. People looked at him and it made them think. What was going on in his mind in those final moments? Maybe it was his family? Children? His unmet dreams and goals? It is by thinking of these questions that we remember how fragile life really is.

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