Letting myself click on The Falling Man, a story of 9/11, 15-years later

fallingmanscreengrabI could not have looked at this picture or read this story before. But 15 years after the last day of the “before”… Before 9/11 changed how the world can be seen, I can look. I did. I let myself.
I froze, seeing it in my feed, in horror. Then swiped past it quickly.
I remembered the date today and what it means. I paused. But then I scrolled back up. I held my finger over the image of The Falling Man just off the screen. I took a deep breath and held it. And then I pressed down on the screen of my iPhone.
It took years and years of removing these images from my mind, of not seeing people alive and dead, replaying over and over in the edit bay of the television station I worked at back then. Over and over I played them that day and many that would follow. On purpose. Doing my job. And I did it well that day. I was all business. The journalist did what she was supposed to. She didn’t stop or falter. She checked on the airport where she was, safety information for people there. We were exactly 100 days from the Winter Olympics starting in our town. And people were scared. But we worked. Fear does not stop us. We go forward, always in motion to the next thing.
The video from that day, the pictures, had captured life. And I paused it there. I held that moment because I did not want to see or know the moment that I knew was next, the one with the fire and the death and the heat and the vaporization. I’d already seen it live. We all did.
Those moments are frozen in time but the memories, they live on, when they are released from suppression on these dates every year since.
That day. It was a long one. But it went by faster than any other. I froze time that day and it has melted slowly, drip by drip ever since. I will never forget. The dampness is permanent.


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