FDNY Hero Dies at 91

(USNewsMag.com) – A famous retired New York City firefighter who was photographed with former President George W. Bush a couple of days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks has died at the age of 91.

Bob Beckwith, a retired firefighter from the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY), died on Sunday, February 4th, which was confirmed by his wife, Barbara Beckwith. She also confirmed that he died of cancer while in hospice care.

At the time of the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001, which resulted in the collapse of the World Trade Center, Beckwith had already been retired for seven years from the FDNY after 30 years in Queens with Ladder Co. 164. Along with several others, he rushed into Manhattan to assist with the search and rescue mission at ground zero. Many first responders died, and many more suffered serious health issues as a result of their heroic actions.

Beckwith was recorded and photographed beside Bush as he delivered a speech to first responders who worked nonstop after the WTC collapse, one of many historic moments from that time. That event and his rescue efforts made the retired firefighter a local and national hero, but the photo op with Bush was not planned. Beckwith told the media ten years later, in 2011, that he was actually standing on Engine Co. 76 to get a better view of Bush when the president unexpectedly made a detour and climbed onto the engine next to him.

Beckwith’s widow told reporters that he became famous by luck and that Beckwith was in “the right place, at the right time.” Despite how highly respected he was by others, Barbara said her husband was just “a regular guy.” She described him as “well-liked and quiet,” and as “a regular Joe.”

The wake was held on Friday, February 9th, and Beckwith was buried the following day on Long Island. The 91-year-old left behind six children, 10 grandkids, and two great-grandkids.

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