Bob Beckwith, FDNY firefighter in 9/11 photo with Bush, dies at 91

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US President George W. Bush (L), standing next to retired firefighter Bob Beckwith, 69, speaks to volunteers and firemen as he surveys the damage at the site of the World Trade Center in this 14 September 2001 file photo in New York. The New York City Fire Department announced on February 5, 2024, the death of retired firefighter Robert Beckwith, who rushed to the scene of the September 11, 2001 attacks and became famous for standing next to President George W. Bush on the ruins of the World Trade Center.

Bob Beckwith, a retired FDNY firefighter who was captured in a famous photo standing next to President George W. Bush in the days after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in New York City, has died. He was 91.

His wife, Barbara Beckwith said he had cancer and died Sunday night in hospice care, the Associated Press reported.

Beckwith was 69 and already retired for seven years following a 30-year career from Ladder Company 164 in Queens, when he, along with other current and first responders, rushed to ground zero after the attacks on the World Trade Center to help with the search and rescue efforts.

Beckwith became known as a hero after 9/11

He stood with Bush as the president gave a speech to the first responders who had been working nonstop in the hours and days after the hijacked planes crashed and collapsed the twin towers.

In 2011, Beckwith told the Associated Press he was looking for a good view of the president when Bush made an unexpected detour and hopped on the Engine Co. 76 truck where Beckwith was standing. He helped the president get on the truck and was about to step down when Bush stopped him, and the famous photo was then taken of the two.

US President George W. Bush (L), standing next to retired firefighter Bob Beckwith, 69, speaks to volunteers and firemen as he surveys the damage at the site of the World Trade Center in this 14 September 2001 file photo in New York. The New York City Fire Department announced on February 5, 2024, the death of retired firefighter Robert Beckwith, who rushed to the scene of the September 11, 2001 attacks and became famous for standing next to President George W. Bush on the ruins of the World Trade Center.

Barbara Beckwith told the Associated Press after his death that her husband was “just lucky. He was at the right place, at the right time, and that’s why he’s famous. But he was a regular guy. Well-liked and quiet. Just a regular Joe.”

Beckwith’s wake will be Friday, and he will be buried Saturday on Long Island. He had six children, 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.



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