“The Falling Man” is a photograph taken by Richard Drew at 9:41:15 a.m., on September 11, 2001 of a man falling from the World Trade Center during the September 11 attacks in New York City. The man in the photohraph remains unknown. The picture is deceptive, however, as it suggest that man was falling straight down, however, this is just one of many photographs of his fall. It is evident from these other pictures that he tumbling out of control.
Many people find the image disturbing because it is a horrific image of what people had to resort to during the attacks. The subject was one of some 200 people (called “jumpers” by the press) trapped on the upper floors of the skyscraper that apparently resorted to jump rather than die from the fire and smoke. In the United States, people have taken pains to banish it from the 9/11 records. Newspaper stories commenting on the image have attracted a barrage of criticism from readers. In most American newspapers, the photograph ran once and never again. However, as Esquire wrote, the story behind it and the search for the man pictured in it, may be our most intimate connection to the horror of that day.
The photo has become a digitalized “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier” not only for the jumpers but also for everyone who perished that day.