Legendary 9/11 firefighter Bob Beckwith who stood with President George W Bush at Ground Zero dies at 91

Bob Beckwith, the New York City firefighter who stood by President George W. Bush at Ground Zero in the aftermath of the 2001 terrorist attacks, has died at the age of 91.

Former U.S. Rep. Peter King, RN.Y., first announced Beckwith’s death in a post Sunday.

“Bob Beckwith has passed away. A man of character and dignity. An American icon who represented the best of the FDNY, New York, and America during one of its most dangerous times. Rest in peace, Bob Beckwith. ” was written.

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, nephew of Tommy Jurgens, a New York state court official who was killed in an attack during a World Trade Center relief effort on September 11, 2001, has been close with Beckwith for many years. He told FOX News Digital. Both are from Long Island, and Beckwith’s grandson, Matt Beckwith, also works in Blakeman’s office.

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George W. stands next to retired firefighter Bob Beckwith, 69, and speaks to volunteers and firefighters while surveying damage at the World Trade Center site on September 14, 2001 in New York City.・President Bush. (Paul J. Richards/AFP via Getty Images)

“I am so sad to hear of Bob Beckwith’s passing. We became good friends, and we remember that historic day when he stood next to President Bush on a pile of rubble at the World Trade Center. We all remember, and it has special meaning because we lost our nephew, who was a courthouse worker who was providing first aid when the building collapsed,” Blakeman said. “This is a very emotional thing, and Bob’s passing brings back good memories of him. It also brings back bad memories of 9/11. But we will miss him very much.” .He was a dedicated member of our community here in Nassau County. And again, this is a huge loss. ”

“It’s a reminder that Bob, a retired firefighter, was standing next to me on a pile of rubble listening to the president speak at that time, which was a tragic event for many people,” he said. Ta. “The symbolism is so powerful that it brings comfort to families who have lost loved ones and gives us hope that we can overcome this brutal terrorist attack.”

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

Relatives told FOX News Digital that 9/11-related illnesses contributed to Beckwith’s death.

On September 14, 2001, President Bush put his arm around Beckwith at Ground Zero and stood on a pile of rubble, speaking into a bullhorn as he called out to first responders.

“I want you to know that today America is on our knees in prayer for the people who died here, for the workers who worked here, for their families. “My thoughts are with the good people of York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, as we mourn the loss of thousands of citizens,” President Bush said.

Beckwith and Bush at the World Trade Center

President George W. Bush (center left) speaks to rescue workers, firefighters, and police officers from among the rubble at Ground Zero on September 14, 2001 in New York City. (Eric Draper/White House/Getty Images)

“I hear you, the rest of the world hears you, and the people who destroyed these buildings will soon hear us all,” the president added, adding, It drew applause and chants from USA. “The country sends love and compassion to everyone here. Thank you for your hard work. Thank you for making our country proud. And God bless you.”

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Beckwith, 69, who worked for the FDNY for 30 years, had retired six years ago when he watched the Twin Towers collapse on television from his home on Long Island.

Three days later, he drove to lower Manhattan to help search for survivors, following police cars across the Williamsburg Bridge.

Bob Beckwith and Nassau County Officials

Bob Beckwith (center) with his grandson Matt Beckwith (right) and Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman (left). Beckwith’s grandson works in Blakeman’s office. (Fox News Digital/Nassau County Executive Office)

Wearing old gear, including a leather fire helmet from Ladder Company 164, Beckwith managed to persuade both the NYPD and the National Guard to stop at Ground Zero because he was late for the mission, according to the 9/11 Memorial Museum. He was granted permission to enter. . Once on the scene, he set to work in a bucket brigade as a line of first responders hand-delivered buckets of debris in a search for survivors. The crew he joined successfully unearthed FDNY Engine 76.

While searching for the truck driver, Beckwith heard that President Bush would soon be visiting the scene, so she hopped on a fire truck to get a closer look at the command post where the president was scheduled to speak. Someone Beckwith believed to be a Secret Service agent (later revealed to be President Donald Trump’s Chief of Staff Karl Rove) approached the truck and demanded that Beckwith jump to prove that the wreckage was safe to climb.

Bob Beckwith attends the White House with President Bush

President George W. Bush (right) attends a ceremony in the Oval Office on February 25, 2002. New York Governor George Pataki presented President Bush with a bullhorn as former New York firefighter Bob Beckwith looked on. (Pool Photo/Getty Images)

He complied, but was soon surprised to see the President walking toward him.

“I saw the president on the corner and he was across the street at the microphone, and he took a hard right turn and came right in front of me and raised his arms,” ​​Beckwith recalled in a 2021 interview. . NBC. “I said, ‘Oh my God.’ I pulled him up on the rig, turned him around and said, ‘Are you okay, Mr. President?’ he said. So, as I started coming down, he said, “Where are you going?” I said, “They told me to get off.” He said, “Oh, no, you stay here.” And he put his arm around mine. ”

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Surrounded by news cameras, Beckwith unwittingly became part of the historic moment when President Bush galvanized American resolve after the attack.

A portrait of him and the president was placed on the cover of Time magazine at the time. Although Beckwith was the only person at Ground Zero that day, the helmet he wore remains a relic and a symbol of his heroism, as former firefighters were concerned about his age during search and rescue operations. It is a symbol of