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The Falling Man

Drew remembered arriving by subway at the scene, coming up from the Chambers Street exit and watching helplessly as dozens of people began to fall from the top floors. His journalistic instincts immediately kicked in and he began to capture the chaos on film, snapping photos of those on the ground and in the air.

“I didn’t know I had that photograph of that man in that position until I actually saw it on my computer,” Drew said of “Falling Man.” “I called one of our photo editors and I showed him the picture and I said ‘This is it, this has got to be the picture.’”

The photo editor agreed. The next day the photo appeared in dozens of publications across the country, including the New York Times. The backlash over the photo’s graphic nature was so severe that it wasn’t run again.

“It was a very brave thing for them to use that picture,” Drew said of the Times. “It was the only picture that was like that… the only picture that showed any kind of human interaction [with the building] like that.”

Despite the infamy of the photograph, the man in “Falling Man” has never been identified.

“We don’t know if he died on the way down… they say there are rumors that you die before you… you know, if you fall…” Drew said of the man’s fate. “We don’t know if he was forced out by [the] fire or if he chose his fate.”

Because the body was never recovered, there has never been any formal identification. Over the years theories popped up over his identity though none have been proven. — “Falling Man”: The Story Behind The Infamous September 11th Photo

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Lance April 27, 2019, 9:36 AM

    Where the hell are your social media buttons to share??

  • Richard April 27, 2019, 10:27 AM

    Not even eighteen years later and we have adherents of the death cult that precipitated the events leading up to that picture, firmly ensconced in Congress. If that doesn’t tell you everything you need to know regarding the status of the health of your country/society/culture, you simply do not want to know. “Some people did some things”, should have generated a maelstrom leading to the offender being unceremoniously frog-marched out of the Capitol building. Then again, in a sane country -a country in which its population believes in its future- such a comment would never have been heard in the first place because no one would ever have heard of the person spewing the comment.

    December 7th 1941- “A date which will live in infamy.”
    “Remember the Alamo”
    “Remember the Maine”
    September 11, 2001 “Some people did some things”

    Nice country we had there for a couple hundred years or so, a shame we couldn’t keep it.

  • Walter Sobchak April 27, 2019, 12:52 PM

    You used this picture years ago. At that time I posted as a comment the following poem and scripture:

    If I were speaking to Jacob right now, I would say,
    I’ve always loved the story of your ladder,
    with the angels going up and down,
    Once, when I was a child, I even dreamed I saw it.
    I was in a field, and the clouds parted, and there it was.
    And it looked like a long crowded highway,
    the red lights were the angels going up
    and the white lights were the angels going down.
    But it was only a dream.
    But last week, I wasn’t dreaming, and I saw it.
    I saw your ladder, its silver poles, and rungs of glass,
    and I saw the angels falling down,
    and they were so fast fleeting,
    and they were so beautiful … and terrible.
    and I saw in a cloud of white and gray,
    thousands of angels going up, up, up…
    And if I could, I would ask Jacob
    if he wishes he could forget the vision of his ladder,
    the way I wish I could forget mine. (Zoe Klein)

    Gen. 28:10-17 Jacob’s Dream at Bethel

    Jacob left Be’er Sheva, and went toward Haran. And he came to a certain place, and stayed there that night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep.

    And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! And behold, the LORD stood above it and said, “I am the LORD, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and to your descendants; and your descendants shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and by you and your descendants shall all the families of the earth bless themselves. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done that of which I have spoken to you.”

    Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place; and I, I did not know it.” And he was afraid, and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”

  • Rick April 27, 2019, 1:17 PM

    Here we are, all these years later still apologizing to the sons-of-bit he’s who who did this. We should be marching them up the stairs

  • PA Cat April 27, 2019, 4:49 PM

    The name of the Falling Man is inscribed on the heart of Him who died and rose again for all of us fallen humans.

  • azlibertarian April 27, 2019, 4:54 PM

    I love that image.

    One side of my brain recognizes that this guy has never been identified, that he may be among those whose remains were never recovered, and that in the middle of that horrible moment, he might not have been able to assign responsibility for it.

    But the other side of my brain likes to believe that he knew that it was terrorists, and probably Islamic, who flew those beautiful planes into those (arguably) beautiful buildings on that beautiful September morning. And rather than accept or succumb to the death that they brought to him, he used his one last act to take his own life rather than to give them that victory.

  • ghostsniper April 27, 2019, 6:20 PM

    “…this guy has never been identified…”

    Somebody knows who he is.
    Nobody lives in an isolated bubble, especially in NYFC.

  • rabbit tobacco April 27, 2019, 6:44 PM


  • AesopFan April 27, 2019, 7:28 PM

    Never forget.

  • Auntie Analogue April 28, 2019, 9:50 AM

    If a New Zealander views or shares that photo would the New Zealand government prosecute him?