September 11, 2010

FROM THE ARCHIVES: JONATHAN:

EXCLUSIVE: REVEALED THE FALLING MAN OF 9/11 (David Edwards, 3/15/06, The Daily 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'.

"I never thought of the Falling Man as Jonathan. I thought of him as a man that just took his life in his hands for just one second.

"Did that person have so much faith that he knew that God would catch him - or was he so afraid to experience the end?"

On the day he died, Jonathan had kissed his wife Hillary goodbye before making the 20-mile journey from his home in Mount Vernon to Manhattan where he worked in the Windows On The World restaurant as a sound engineer.


The image inspired one of the most moving essays about 9-11.



[originally posted: 3/15/06]

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Posted by Orrin Judd at September 11, 2010 12:00 AM
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