A retired firefighter who appeared standing next to President George W. Bush in an iconic image following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks died at the age of 91, officials said Monday.
Bob Beckwith, of Long Island, died Sunday night in hospice after dealing with cancer for years, his wife Barbara Beckwith said Monday, according to the Associated Press.
Beckwith was born on April 16, 1932. He joined the FDNY in 1965, retiring 30 years later in 1994. He was one of many retired FDNY members who responded to aid in rescue and recovery in the days and months following the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
It was during that time he stood atop a smashed fire truck at the destroyed World Trade Center site as Bush delivered a pivotal speech with a bullhorn. The former president famously draped his arm around Beckwith as he addressed responders.
“His iconic picture with President Bush captured a moment that was both inspiring and heartbreaking. We are grateful to his service to our city and our nation, and we join his family and friends in mourning his loss,” Fire Commissioner Kavanaugh said in a statement.
Bush issued a statement on Monday sharing his condolences.
“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. “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.”
Beckwith’s wake will be on Friday, and he will be buried on Long Island, according to the AP.