The Man Who Fell from the Top of the World

Image result for man falling from the twin towers
The Falling Man – Published by Associated Press photographer Richard Drew

Pictures really do tell a thousand words. September 11, 2001, is the day that America, our home, changed forever. This day, the world stood silent. People stopped what they were doing. People were brought to tears. People were left speechless. This day, life in America became extremely different. The attacks on the Twin Towers in New York City have since then become one of the most relevant events in our history. Osama Bin Laden, leader of the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda, coordinated four attacks on America, two in New York City, one at the Pentagon in Virginia and one in a field in Pennsylvania.America, which used to be seen as a safe country, became the most fragile and broken place in the world. The world began to think if this could happen to America, the superpower of the world, what would happen next.

The picture titled “The Falling Man” published by the Associated Press and taken by photographer Richard Drew is one picture that stunned people everywhere. In this photo, the photographer captured a man “jumping” to his death off of the top of the North Tower of the World Trade Center. This picture not only acknowledged the story of the people who were forced to jump but alone gave a true sense of the horror of that day. This picture single-handedly shows the trauma and agony people began to go through. The mix of emotions that all those people on the top floors of those buildings must have been feeling must have been unreal and the people must have felt helpless. The picture was thought to be the people trapped in the top floors of the towers knowing their lives were over and deciding that instead of suffering a long and agonizing death, they would just jump to save them that pain. This picture highlighted the decision this man and many just like him had to make in a split second that horrible day. 

 In the picture, a man is seen jumping from the top of the World Trade Center plummeting to his death. The man, to this day unidentified, is seen to be falling straight down after jumping out of a window. His body is facing straight down towards the ground. His body is tense, with his hands by his side, and one leg still. His body, even in the action of falling, seems to show a release of pain and horror for the man. The colors of this picture help the image develop the story as well. There is a sudden change of color of the building because of the way that the sun hits it. The picture begins with dark colors like black and dark grey. As soon as the man is seen in the picture, the background changes to lighter colors and reflections of the sun. This can be interpreted as the feelings of that day. If thinking in this man’s point of view, the day went from darkness and fear, horror and trauma to seeing an escape to his nightmare and a way out of the pain he must have been feeling. 

Before being published, the photo was seen by many people deciding whether it was honorable or not to put it out into the world. When the decision was made to go ahead with the publication of the picture, the intended target audience was the people of America and anyone who would see it around the world. The picture’s main purpose was to serve as the “ tomb of the unknown soldier”  for that horrible day in history. It forced the world to acknowledge and remember the terrible events of that day.


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