American Hero Loses His Life In Heartbreaking Update

The retired FDNY firefighter who became part of the iconic image of the country’s unity following the September 11 attacks when he stood beside then-President Bush at Ground Zero passed away last week at the age of 91, the Associated Press reported.

Bob Beckwith passed away on Sunday, February 3 in hospice care following a yearslong battle with cancer, according to his wife Barbara.

It was Beckwith who stood alongside President Bush when he delivered a rousing speech through a megaphone to the first responders working at Ground Zero in Manhattan three days after hijackers crashed two planes into the World Trade Center on 9/11.

Barbara Beckwith told the Associated Press last Monday that her husband was famous simply for being in “the right place at the right time.” She said Bob was just a “regular guy” who was “quiet” and “well-liked.”

Bob Beckwith was a retired 69-year-old firefighter in September 2001 when he volunteered to join the search and rescue efforts at Ground Zero along with hundreds of other current and former firefighters and rescue workers.

In an interview with the Associated Press marking the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Beckwith said he had been looking for a good vantage point from which to watch President Bush as he toured Ground Zero and had climbed up onto the top of the ruined firetruck. The president then took a detour and hopped on top of the firetruck as well and stood alongside Beckwith.

According to his wife Barbara, Bob helped President Bush up onto the firetruck and was about to climb down when the president told him, “Where are you going?” President Bush told Beckwith that he was going to stand “right here with me.”

The president kept his arm around Beckwith’s shoulder as he told the first responders that he and the “rest of the world” could hear them and soon, “the people who knocked down these buildings will hear us all soon.”

Beckwith’s service was held on Friday, February 9 and he was laid to rest in Long Island the following day.

In a statement last week, former President Bush, who had remained in contact with the Beckwith family over the years, said the former firefighter’s courage following the 9/11 attacks “represented the defiant, resilient spirit” of all New Yorkers and Americans.