Over the years, I have avoided most of the 9/11 tributes that are all over the telly. It's just too much. I was there, in front of the television, watching it as it unfolded that horrible day, I didn't need to see these shows that brought up all those feelings. I would watch the technical shows about it, though. The reasons for the collapse of the towers, and things like that. The science behind what happened, not the psyche.
Last night, though, there was a show on Discovery Times Channel called "The Falling Man" that I'd seen the commercials for and I was intrigued, enough to make an effort to see it. It was about those who jumped from the towers, more specifically the one famous shot of a man falling head first against the backdrop of the World Trade Center that was published and quickly buried. I remember the reports of that day, of people jumping and it just seemed unimaginable. Outrageous. Shocking. And then, I remember that suddenly, the reports stopped, as if no one jumped. As if it never happened.
They did tentatively identify the jumper but, inconculsively. Which, as they stated in the piece, it's better that he stands for all the poor people who made that horrible, soul-shaking decision:
You have one choice, just one. What would you do? Burn alive or jump to your death?
I confess, I cried a lot watching that program. It was heart-wrenching. It was spell-binding. It was necessary. At least to me. I felt that it needed to be said. Those who jumped to their deaths needed to be heard. Because we focused on the heroes, the firemen, the police, the stories that made it seem a little better to swallow, we tend to forget that someone, some hateful lunatic, made people just like you or me, decide to jump out of a window of the World Trade Center and plunge to earth, to die.
It was a powerful hour and a half of television. And yes, it was hard to watch. I needed to watch it. I needed to remember
I am a life long resident of this little island on the east coast of New Jersey and I am the walking representation of Atlantic City. Which doesn't say much for the city. I'm a professional party guest.