The FDNY UFA said Bob Beckwith “is beloved by the UFA and the department for all of his sacrifice” during the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001
The FDNY UFA said Beckwith “is beloved by the UFA and the department for all of his sacrifice” during the attacks more than 22 years ago.
“Bob is one of the heroes of 9/11 who stood tall for America, New York City and all New Yorkers,” the association said in a statement shared on X.
Beckwith first joined the FDNY in 1965, when he was assigned to Ladder 117 in Queens, according to the fire department. He spent the majority of his career with Ladder 164, to which he transferred in 1987, and retired in 1994.
But the retiree stepped into action on Sept. 11, 2001 while “happily retired after more than 30 years of service” with the FDNY, according to a statement shared by the George W. Bush Presidential Center.
“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 in his statement. “His courage represented the defiant, resilient spirit of New Yorkers and Americans after 9/11.”
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Three days after the attacks, Bush and Beckwith were photographed beside each other while the 43rd U.S. president delivered a historic speech at Ground Zero. Beckwith, who was 69 at the time, helped Bush onto the fire truck before joining him for the speech, according to CNN.
The FDNY said the photograph of Beckwith and Bush “symbolized the FDNY in its darkest hour as members and first responders relentlessly searched for survivors.”
“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,” Bush said on Monday.
Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh noted how the “iconic” image “captured a moment that was both inspiring and heartbreaking” in American history. His willingness to step in years after he retired was “a testament” to his devotion to the FDNY, she added.
“We are grateful to his service to our city and our nation, and we join his family and friends in mourning his loss,” the commissioner said.
New York Rep. Anthony D'Esposito also paid tribute to Beckwith on social media. D’Esposito, who currently represents New York City’s 4th Congressional District, said the late firefighter “gave us hope when we thought all was lost” on Sept. 11 and beyond.
“The megaphone he provided President Bush carried a message across the world,” D’Esposito, 41, added.
Beckwith would have turned 92 on April 16, according to the FDNY.
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