March 15, 2006

Falling Man of 9/11 Identified

falling-man-9-11-jonathan-briley.jpgThe man shown in a now infamous photograph falling from the Twin Towers on 9/11 has been identified as Jonathan Briley, a claim made by the British tabloid, The Mirror. A documentary about 'The Falling Man' will be aired on the British TV channel 4 tomorrow. Briley was one of dozens who chose to end their own lives by jumping, rather than face the horror of being burned alive. The Mirror:

Five years after the horror of September 9, 2001, the falling man has finally been identified as Jonathan Briley, a 43-year-old who worked in a restaurant at the top of the north tower.

Over the years, his family has always assumed he perished in the building. Now, learning he had jumped is almost too much to bear.

His father, Alexander, a Baptist minister, has still not come to terms with the manner of his son's dying. "I can't talk about it," he says. "My life's work is telling people that they have to go on after tragedy, but I can't do it for myself."

Jonathan's elder sister, Gwendolyn, says: "When I first looked at the picture... and I saw it was a man - tall, slim - I said, 'If I didn't know any better, that could be Jonathan'....

falling-man-9-11-jonathan-briley2.jpgTHEY caught a man, seemingly calm, plunging to his inevitable death.

The picture was published around the world, causing widespread revulsion, as if merely looking at them was to intrude upon a moment of private agony. After September 12, the picture was rarely shown again, but Tom Junod couldn't get the image out of his head and spent years trying to discover the identity of the Falling Man.

It was executive chef Michael Lomonaco who finally solved the mystery.

"Jonathan fitted the body type, the skin colour, and it left the door open for a possibility that it was really Jonathan," Lomonaco says.

Jonathan's father is still too upset to speak about his son but his sister, Gwendolyn, is ready to talk.

"Jonathan was a person who just loved life and it was contagious so that when we were around him, you couldn't help smiling and laughing." Nobody will ever know for sure if Jonathan was the Falling Man, although the evidence makes it highly likely.

In one of the pictures, his white shirt is blown away by the wind to reveal an orange T-shirt - identical to the one he wore to work.

But as Gwendolyn says: "It's not about trying to find out who he is, but what his death says to all of us." And what it says is ... never again.

Never forget. Never again.

Thanks to Olivia for sending the link and for reminding readers that this drives home the point that the struggle against Islamofascism is not about race, but about a murderous and totalitarian ideology.

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin has a moving tribute here.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 04:55 PM | Comments |