Local photographer among first to document 9/11 tragedy

CREATED Sep. 11, 2013 - UPDATED: Sep. 12, 2013

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MILWAUKEE - Most of us will take a minute to reflect on the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. For Rick Wood, it's a day to remember everything he saw and witnessed.

"Your instincts as a journalist are to run closer, and everyone, the police were saying run north as I was headed south," said Wood, photographer for the Journal Sentinel.
 
He was in New York shooting fashion week, until he got a phone call telling him to rush to the World Trade Center.  He tried to get as close as safely possible.
 
"All I heard was a loud pop, you saw the south tower go down, and a loud groan from everybody. We didn't know how many people were killed, but we knew it was significant."
 
He wasn't the only one running towards the towers.  He saw police, firefighters, and complete strangers helping out others.
 
"There was a sense of pain, but there was a sense of 'we're going to get through this together,'" Wood said.
 
Wood went back to document the one-year anniversary.
 
"I had a picture of a police officer holding a child in his hands, getting away from the dust.  That ran in People magazine.  I went to talk to him a year later.  He said he retired from the force," Wood said.
 
Wood admits it took about 6 months for it to emotionally sink in everything he saw.  He adds 12 years later, it's still a good reminder.
 
"It makes me appreciate the people who are in my life."