American Hero Who Stood Next To Bush For Iconic 9/11 Photo Dies At 91

Photo by PAUL J. RICHARDS/Getty Images

Samuel Spencer Contributor
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A national hero, Bob Beckwith, reportedly passed away on Monday morning of unknown causes.

The retired FDNY firefighter, 91, who famously stood with former U.S. President George W. Bush on Ground Zero just three days after 9/11, is survived by his wife and six children, according to Fire Rescue 1. Former New York Rep. Peter King announced Beckwith’s passing on social media, calling the man an “American icon.”

Beckwith was 69 years old and had been retired seven years when 9/11 happened. On Sept. 14, 2001, he donned his helmet and went to Ground Zero to aid in the rescue efforts, Fire Rescue 1 reported. Little did he know he was to be made a national symbol of hope that day. As Bush gave his speech, he and Beckwith stood shoulder-to-shoulder as those around them listened. Photos of Beckwith and Bush were distributed across American news outlets and even on the cover of Time Magazine, according to Fire Rescue 1.

Beckwith helped the former president onto a firetruck that was a barrier in the rubble. The president then gave what is now referred to as the Bullhorn Address at Ground Zero.

“I can hear you! I can hear you! The rest of the world hears you!” Bush said while next to Buckwith. “And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!”

“I was standing on his fire truck,” Beckwith said in an interview with Fox Business. “Which was a crushed truck that we had found in the rubble and he [President George W. Bush] came around and the next thing I know I’m pulling him up on the rig.”

The Long Island resident explains that all he intended was to find “anybody” who might have survived the tragedy of 9/11.

“I just happened to be in the right place at the right time when the president came,” Beckwith said in an interview two years ago. (RELATED: What Was George W. Bush Thinking On 9/11? He Breaks It Down In This Chilling Special)

In 2021 Beckwith was getting treatment for skin cancer, which is common among 9/11 responders, according to PIX 11.