By lex, on September 11th, 2007
Long, and heartrending. Difficult.
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 soliders everywhere, it asks that we look at it, and make one simple acknowledgment.
That we have known who the Falling Man is all along.
There are no pictures. But you should nevertheless bear witness, you owe it to yourself.
After all, the Falling Man is you.