2006_09_sept11beckwithbush.jpgAt yesterday's memorial service at St. Paul's Chapel, President Bush said hello to retired firefighter Bob Beckwith. Beckwith is the firefighter standing with Bush on September 14, 2001, standing amidst the rubble. The Daily News spoke to Beckwith, who now does give speeches, but donates the proceeds:

Beckwith had served New York City honorably but in relative obscurity for three decades as a firefighter at Ladder 117 in Astoria, Queens.

"I just happened to be in the right place at the right time," Beckwith said. "I wasn't looking to be famous. After what happened with Bush, I was told not to come back. They found out I was 69 and they told me I was too old."

Now 74, Beckwith said he fears that not enough was being done to help ailing first responders who got sickened from their service in The Pit.

"What I'd like to see is something to help these guys who went down there and now their health is being affected," he said. "I'd like to see them being taken care of."

Beckwith also went to the White House in February 2002 to give Bush the bullhorn he used. Also in the Daily News, Thomas Von Essen, the Fire Commissioner during September 11, writes about criticism and how he regrets not making a pension accomodation to keep experienced firefighters from retiring.

The FDNY's site has a special tribute page for the fifth anniversary and the 343 firefighters who died. And the Record looks at how photographer Thomas E. Franklin took the picture of three firefighters raising a flag at Ground Zero - and has a gallery of the photographs he took before and after that.