Bill Biggart was among them. But he never lived to see the photos he took. Biggart was the only working photojournalist killed during the attack.
Biggart's digital photos did survive and his works were published in the Oct. 19 issue of "Newsweek" magazine and will be on exhibit at the International Center of Photography and the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History next week.
"Bill was a 'newsjunkie,'" his wife, Wendy Doremus, told The Early Show. "He had a police scanner and was always listening to hear what was going on in the city. He always had his cameras by his side — ready to spring into action."
Biggart raced to the scene when he heard that a plane crashed into a WTC tower, according to Doremus.
The ICP exhibition gives a narrative of his journey that started at his apartment and proceeded down Fifth Avenue and then along West Street as he inched closer to the burning buildings and to the area that would become known as "ground zero."
He documented the devastation until his final moments when the North Tower collapse buried him in debris. Four days later, his body was recovered, along with his camera and his film.
Doremus says she is one of the luckier ones to suffer a loss in the attack because she received closure quickly. The widow says Biggart would have wanted his pictures to be published and exhibited.