9/11 Reflections

RICHARD DREW/AP
RICHARD DREW/AP

Do you remember the Falling Man photo taken on 9/11? Of course you do, if you were alive then and old enough to absorb the news and what was happening, you could not forget this image. It’s stunning how it jars you instantly back 20 years and how quickly the familiar raw emotions of anger and grief pop up.

Time has softened the sharp edges around those emotions though and transformed them to a more reflective stance on the preciousness of life and nostalgia for a more innocent time of national unity, when we truly were all in this together.

Esquire Magazine has a beautiful article about the Falling Man written by Tom Junod. It tells the moments leading up to photographer Richard Drews taking the iconic shot and the lengths to which investigative news reporter Peter Cheney went to find out the man’s identity, which even today remains unknown.

Of course there were many unfortunate people that also jumped from the Twin Towers that day, which was widely reported on at first. This sparked a weird and uniquely American phenomenon, in that it became taboo to talk about these poor souls. It was considered a slur against them, that highlighting their choice to jump out the window to certain death instead of being incinerated by extreme heat and fire was somehow a poor reflection on their character.

I don’t view it that way at all. I posted this picture because to me it perfectly captures both the awful, ugly horror of that day, along with the divine beauty of a man who has accepted his fate and chooses, courageously in my view, to exit this earth by his own standards. Pure grace in action.

So that is my September 11 memorial post for this year. May God bless the 9/11 victims, their loved ones and all of those who made the ultimate sacrifice hunting down justice and defending our freedoms.

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16 Responses to 9/11 Reflections

  1. I am with you. It in facts shows the horror of what happened. Imagine having to make that choice. I cannot.

    Blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Doug says:

    All through this.. both then and now 20 years later… has been the curiosity regarding the jumpers. Not their identities. Your linked article was nicely written… but it didn’t get to my own personal question…. it’s not that they did jump.. but what made them decide to jump. What was the very likely fleeting decision process (given the urgency was upon them) that made them want to jump. Especially as I recall, a couple holding hands.
    They got up that clear morning and headed out to work like any other day… likely walked into the building and to their workplaces acknowledging the reciprocal “good morning” to those they recognized… settled into their workday, maybe looking forward to the weekend. Within one hour or so of that they made a conscious decision to jump out of a window some 90+ floors above the ground to a sure death. The couple holding hands when they jumped.. an entirely different set of decision making… a compassion between two human beings to share death together.. very likely one fearful to take the plunge.. and the other holding his hand out to guide the other.
    All that bothers me to this day. Not in the least that they should not have jumped… but I hunger to know the why.
    The article you linked mentioned those French brothers who produce the documentary “9/11”.. I recall watching it when it first aired… and the seemingly constant thud of falling bodies hitting the lobby roof.. was very haunting.
    Yes.. for sure you and I can agree on this event.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      I saw that documentary too and can remember the “thud”. It’s all so horrible to contemplate yet it’s important to do so. I often wonder what went through the jumper’s minds as they made the leap and also while falling. It must have been terrifying.

      I probably would have jumped. Not out of bravery but because burning to death scares me more.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Doug says:

        Me too.. and I think it just might come down to the idea that we refuse to allow ourselves to be killed and prefer to make our own choice as to when and how to die.. and jumping robbed the fire from succeeding.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Well said, Tricia. I really like what you said here, “it perfectly captures both the awful, ugly horror of that day, along with the divine beauty of a man who has accepted his fate and chooses, courageously in my view, to exit this earth by his own standards.”

    I think you’ve captured something really important about freedom and the human heart. “Give me liberty or give me death” is not just a platitude or a rallying cry, it’s the essence of who we are as people. We are not motivated solely by a desire to stay alive or to be safe, our spirits seek liberty and freedom.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Tricia says:

      Oh my God, IB, you nailed it! It isn’t just a platitude, it speaks deeply to our core which others are trying to deny and rip right out of us.

      Freedom over safety is paramount but we are going backwards on that.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Al says:

    One of the most poignant of your many insightful articles, Tricia. Your next to last paragraph has to resonate with anyone with a heart and soul.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. socrates1234 says:

    In these unprecedented and challenging times, it is important that all American find common ground to fight the tyranny.

    It is very very heart warming to see a sense of unity bringing all of us together as one big family. As we know, we are all in this together.

    Thus, it brings tears to my eyes to see such a common theme thru all of this confusing inverted public policy of blithering idiocracy.

    As we see at college football games across the country do just that. The poignant and caring chant “Fuck Joe Biden” just maybe the thing that brings all Americans together.

    Say this chant while at the grocery store, at the mall, anywhere in public actually, as this will show just how compassionate you are about helping all people, especially women and children.

    Do this because you care!

    Take care and God bless!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. heart wrenching Tricia!!!!
    What images like this do, is they make us pause and self examine—what would we do, what would we have done—???
    We don’t like this sort of self-examination…and Lord knows, none of us want to find ourselves in such a position—
    I probably would have jumped…that fight or flight mentality as I would want to run far far away—even if that meant out a window.
    But then again, I can’t say….maybe I would have remained…
    It’s one reason I don’t like high rises to this day.
    Life and death…neither are pretty nor easy.
    God bless you my dear friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      Ooh, I think you touched on why people got so upset over stories about the jumpers. You can’t read about them without reflecting on what you would do which is terrifying to contemplate.

      God bless you too Julie!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. irtfyblog says:

    God Bless, Tricia.

    Here’s a speech by Ronald Regan I thought you and your readers might like to hear.

    Liked by 1 person

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