Taken by Richard Drew in the moments after the September 11, 2001, attacks, it documents one person’s individual escape from the collapsing towers. The image was published in the New York Times, and other newspapers around the U.S., but backlash from readers forced it into obscurity. I had almost forgotten about it until the Don DeLillo Novel, Falling Man was published in 2007.
Falling Man’s identity is still unknown, but he is believed to have been an employee at the Windows on the World restaurant, which sat atop the north tower. The true power of Falling Man, however, “is less about who its subject was and more about what he became: a makeshift Unknown Soldier in an often unknown and uncertain war, suspended forever in history, a symbol of individuality against the backdrop of faceless skyscrapers. On a day of mass tragedy, Falling Man is one of the only widely seen pictures that shows someone dying.” – Time Magazine.