The following excerpt was from a column I wrote for the Bay News in 2003 on the anniversary of the World Trade Center attack. Today, it’s another anniversary and again, all that I can feel is sad fatigue at the utter waste and loss of all that transpired since those planes hit their mark. Sadness and a terrible knowledge that Osama bin Laden was absolutely correct in his evaluation of America and his clear understanding of just how fragile this country really was/is. He knew that all it would take would be for one dramatic strategic hit and Americans would finish themselves off and end up with a country crippled, bankrupted in a ginned up phony war, an economic system ruled by and for the elite that was as fragile as the twin towers themselves, vulnerable to the slightest economic hit, a country filled with easily frightened and fooled, willingly uninformed people, helpless sheep heading for the cliff. One strike and it all came to pass.
I can only hope that this anniversary finds this country at least more awake and paying attention. But observing what passes for political discourse nowadays, I have my doubts. Perhaps we simply never learn anything.
The Falling Man
The power of that photograph still stuns. It’s what the eye does not want to see, the heart does not want to comprehend. He is seared into memory, the falling man, so calm, so straight against the vast, vertical expanse of the World Trade towers. Head down, his legs slightly bent, hands at his side, his back straight, he will remain trapped eternally in a moment of unspeakable horror, falling forever.
The photographer, Richard Drew, wrote the story that accompanied the photograph. He was puzzled why this photograph, “denounced as cold-blooded, ghoulish and sadistic,” soon vanished from the national media, yet to this day still remains the one picture people remember and ask about. He notes that, “My fellow photographers call it ‘the most famous picture nobody’s ever seen.’ But, in fact, you have seen it.”
We all have and its power to stun remains awful because, as Drew concludes, “. . . we already know the identity of the man in the picture. He is you and me.” . . . . .