Monday, September 11, 2006

2,996 - Jonathan Eric Briley


Jonathan Eric Briley was working at Windows on the World (North Tower of the World Trade Center) as an audio media specialist during the terrorist attacks.

He is survived by his wife, Hillary; his parents, Marie and the Rev. Alexander Briley; two brothers, Alexander and Timothy; and two sisters, Gwendolyn and Joanne. He used to tell his sister Gwendolyn "there was nothing like" the sunrise he could see each work day from the 110th floor.

Religion played an important role in his life. As a teen-ager, he was a member of Shiloh Baptist Church in New Rochelle. He served in the Christian education ministry and the music ministry. At the time of his death, he worshipped at First Baptist Church of Elmsford, where his father is the pastor

He is believed to be “The Falling Man”.


Richard Drew - AP


That image may offend you. Here, in a post that is meant to celebrate a man’s life, I put an image of him moments before his death. If you believe that his death was a suicide and because of that he is damned, go away. Now. Those who jumped that day exhibited courage, not cowardice. This image not only captures the final moments of a man’s life and conveys a powerful message. Not a message of despair and hopelessness. Not even one of faith, though it’s possible that Jonathan’s faith played no small part in his decision. Did he hope for a miracle? Did he leap into the arms of God? I don’t know. I do know that, for whatever reason, he chose not to wait for his fate to come to him. He took matters into his own hands, and he chose to act.

If that isn’t a profound celebration of life, I don’t know what is.

Life will throw all manner of things in our direction, both good and bad. We can either accept it or grab on with both hands and do something with it. It may not go the way you want, but at least you made the effort and demonstrated strength of will, character, and courage.

Jonathan Eric Briley proved to us all that he had those strengths on the morning of September 11, 2001 when he stepped off into the sunrise.

http://www.jonathanbriley.org/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Falling_Man

http://www.esquire.com/features/articles/2003/030903_mfe_falling_1.html

http://www.dcroe.com/2996/

12 comments:

Miss Chris said...

Being a religious man, I'm sure he looked for God's guidance before he did what he had to do. Nobody knows the horror those people had to endure for that to be their only option. This is a wonderful tribute. Thank you for paying your respects to such a courageous man.

Auntie Lyn said...

I believe in my heart of hearts Jonathan jumped into the open arms of God. Thank you for sharing this moving tribute to John, who for me has become part of the sunrise. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife Hillary, his parents and his entire family as they approach this 5th sadiversary.
Rest in Peace Johnathan, you are my hero,
Blessings,
Auntie Lyn

Oliviah said...

Thank you, that was very touching.

Kami said...

His poor family... What a great tribute. What a great young man.

Jem said...

Thanks for writing about Jonathan :)

Raggedy said...

Wonderful Tribute!
Thank you.
These are sad and hard to read....
I am honored to be a part of this project.
Mine is posted also...

The 2996 link is down. I have a new link on my site to view the participants.

Bless you…

kateandjona said...

Thank you for sharing your tribute.

Jonathon's Closet remembers Robert Levine.

Chicago Ray said...

I had seen this gentleman before pertaining to the falling info you cite. You've done a fine job here and he will indeed be remembered. Please see Eddie Dillard here if you wish and thanks again.

Trée said...

Excellent tribute.

Teena said...

Thank you for honouring Jonathan!

I honoured three men from the Toronto area (I live in Toronto).

Anonymous said...

thanks for this. It's to show how meaningful life is, each and every one that ever was,is, and will be. It's a memorial, to help us heal...God Bless

R. Guido said...

Learning who this man was has given me an unexplainable emotion of what all those people including the 343 went through that morning. I may have only been 11 when this happened, but I was home sick that day watching these events all happen before my eyes. On that day we shared this same earth, and we watched the stage that became your final moment. Though it cannot be confirmed that the "Falling Man" was you, I still have seen your photo and learned of your life. I now have a new face to that day that will be with me forever. Jonathan Eric Briley, in my eyes and the eyes of the world, you are gone, but not forgotten.