Nobody is sure how many jumped, as the report says they were ‘blown out of the building’. Why would it matter if the people stuck on those upper floors on 9/11 jumped or not? Because insurance policies don’t pay out on a suicide, and to some, a suicide means eternal damnation.
There are families who would rather believe their loved one perished in the flames; because to choose your death instead of being killed is to go against their understanding of God’s will; and to them, if you are killed… you go to heaven, but if you avoid being killed by choosing your own death, you go to hell. I can’t accept that. I cannot accept that God would frown upon you jumping from flames licking at your heals. I cannot accept that God would send you to hell for escaping the smoke, the dust, the flames and the steel bending heat. To jump meant 10 more seconds to live, to feel cool air, to escape the death chosen by evil people. To say God would have damned anyone for escaping the terror of that day is to insinuate that we should submit to torture for the glory of God. There is no glory for a God that would send his people to hell for what they chose on that day; which is why I choose to believe in a loving God that wept as they jumped and whispered in their ear, “I’m here with you until the end.” That is the God I want to believe in. Give me a God who curses those who would make His people choose between life and death before it is time to do so. The choice these jumpers made on this fateful day, was not the same as choosing to jump off of a bridge, or a building that didn’t just have a jet fly into it with a full tank of gas. When you put your hand on a hot stove, do you leave it there, or do you pull away? Human instinct makes us pull away, as staying is to invite suffering.
What makes some historians airbrush the images of the jumpers out of the photographs? Is it more offensive than watching the first or second plane hit? Is it more offensive than the horror we all witnessed on that day as it all unfolded? There is a lot to be offended by. Those jumpers said to me, “give me a chance that I don’t have in that inferno.” In those two buildings there was a cremation going on, outside there was a sky to look up to one last time, air to breathe and 10 more seconds to drink in deeply the reality that in a moment, this will all be over. They were not cowards, they had a choice to accept the flames or accept that the reaper was coming, but he was going to have to catch them first.
I’d much rather believe that. That…makes sense.