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In what ways did images affect the impact the terrible events of 9/11 had on America's society and culture?

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One of the most poignant images that affected and caused a deep effect in both media and literature was Richard Drew's (Associated Press) picture of a man jumping out of one of the towers. This picture inspired a meme, and a title, even, which is "The Falling Man".

The picture, which can be found online under that same title, is said to be of a man named Jonathan Briley, who was a restaurant worker at one of the top floors at the North Tower.

There is more than enough speculation as to what may have caused his decision to jump to his death. After all, he was not the only one. However, even the least knowledgeable source would concur that he made a choice on his own behalf: suffocation, injustice, or the possibility of dying crushed by the imploding,  plummeting tower, led him to the desperate solution of simply jumping into the abyss that awaited him thousands of feet below.

The social reaction to this picture resulted in the publication of Don De Lillo's novel of the same title Falling Man. Additionally, more social reactions came up as a result, including in Moore's Theological College's statement which read that, this picture, showed

perhaps the most powerful image of despair at the beginning of the twenty-first century is not found in art, or literature, or even popular music. It is found in a single photograph

Therefore, one image can impact society in more ways than one. This, however, is a shallow statement. World War II, Viet Nam, Kosovo, Sarajevo,Somalia, Guantanamo Bay, and plenty more visuals have caused a similar reaction in a world that would have been blinded otherwise.

Yet, America had never before been hit so deeply in its own turf. For this reason, it is imperative to keep September 11 and the image of "The Falling Man" forever in our social psyche.



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The images we saw on that horrific day are seared into our collective consciousness, and in the day and age of the internet,  images both photographed and videotaped were being captured and beamed around the world in real time.  People did not have to wait for the morning newspaper the next day to see the heartbreaking images captured frame by frame as the tragedy unfolded.  The proliferation of cell phones, cameras and video cameras made it possible for the average citizen to document, share and comment on their experiences instantaneously and hundreds of thousands of photographs and videos can be found online today.  The average person with a computer can relive that horrible day in seconds by simply typing in a few words on Google. 

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