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9/11 Hero Bob Beckwith, Who Stood with President Bush in Iconic Ground Zero Photo, Dies at 91

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

<p>Eric Draper/White House/Getty </p> President George W. Bush and Bob Beckwith

Eric Draper/White House/Getty

President George W. Bush and Bob Beckwith

Bob Beckwith, the former New York City firefighter who stood beside President George W. Bush at Ground Zero just days after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, has died at the age of 91.

Beckwith’s death was confirmed Monday by both the New York City Fire Department and its Uniformed Firefighters Association.

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.

Related: FDNY First Responder Deaths from 9/11-Related Diseases Now Matches Number Killed in Attacks

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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<p>Eric Draper/White House/Getty </p> President George W. Bush with Bob Beckwith at Ground Zero on Sept. 14, 2001

Eric Draper/White House/Getty

President George W. Bush with Bob Beckwith at Ground Zero on Sept. 14, 2001

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.

Related: Man and Woman Killed on 9/11 Formally Identified 22 Years After Terrorist Attack

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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