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Passing of 9/11 Firefighter Who Stood With President George W. Bush at Ground Zero Mourned

via CBS New York
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Bob Beckwith, the retired New York City firefighter who stood with President George W. Bush at Ground Zero after the 9/11 attacks, has passed away at 91.

Former President Bush and others expressed sadness at his death, highlighting his courage and symbolizing American resilience.

Beckwith’s passing brought up both good and bad memories of 9/11, with his grandson also working in the community.

“Laura and I are saddened by the passing of Bob Beckwith. On September 11, 2001, Bob was happily retired after more than 30 years of service with the New York City Fire Department. When the terrorists attacked, Bob suited back up and, like so many brave first responders, raced toward the danger to save and search for others,” Bush said.

“His courage represented the defiant, resilient spirit of New Yorkers and Americans after 9/11. I was proud to have Bob by my side at Ground Zero days later and privileged to stay in touch with this patriot over the years. Laura and I send our condolences to Barbara and the Beckwith family as they remember this decent, humble man.”

“Bob Beckwith has passed away. A man of class and dignity. An American icon who personified the best of the FDNY, New York and America at our most perilous moment. Bob Beckwith R.I.P.,” former Rep. Peter King wrote.

He had 30 years of service with the FDNY and was known for his role in the aftermath of the attacks, including the iconic moment with President Bush.

Beckwith’s involvement in the historic event was a powerful symbol, and his image with the president was featured on Time magazine’s cover.

His death was influenced by 9/11-related illnesses.

“I’m very sad to hear that Bob Beckwith has passed. We became good friends, and we all remember that historic day when he stood next to President Bush on the pile of rubble at the World Trade Center. And it has special meaning to me because I lost my nephew, who was a court officer administering first aid when the building collapsed on him,” Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman said.

“It’s a very emotional thing. And with Bob’s passing it, it brings up good memories of him. And it also brings up bad memories of 9/11. But, we’re going to miss him very much. He was a stalwart member of our community here in Nassau County. And, again, you know, it’s a big loss.”

“It’s a reminder that on that occasion, which was so tragic for so many people, hearing the president on that pile of rubble with Bob standing next to him as a retired firefighter,” he said. “The symbolism was very powerful, and it gave comfort to those families that lost loved ones as well, as it gave us hope that we could overcome these murderous terrorists.”

“I’m very proud that Bob’s grandson, Matt, works for us. He does a great job. And he’s the spitting image of Bob, which is something that every day I think about. Because, Matt, you can tell, they’re definitely related,” Blakeman added.

“I want you all to know that America today – America today is on bended knee in prayer for the people whose lives were lost here, for the workers who work here, for the families and more. This nation stands with the good people of New York City, and New Jersey and Connecticut, as we mourn the loss of thousands of our citizens,” Bush said.

“I can hear you, the rest of the world hears you, and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon,” he said. “The nation sends its love and compassion to everybody who is here. Thank you for your hard work. Thank you for making the nation proud. And may God bless America.”

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