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Retired NYC Firefighter Bob Beckwith Speaks Out On Death Of Bin Laden

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President Bush and Bob Beckwith at Ground Zero on Sept. 14, 2001 (credit: Paul Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

President Bush and Bob Beckwith at Ground Zero on Sept. 14, 2001 (credit: Paul Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — One of the men who became a symbol of strength in the days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks is speaking out about the death of Osama bin Laden.

Retired firefighter Bob Beckwith stood beside then-President George W. Bush at Ground Zero three days after the World Trade Center collapsed when the president made a promise of justice.

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“I can hear you, the rest of the world hears you, and the people who knocked down these buildings will hear all of us soon,” Mr. Bush said.

“Ten years have gone by already. That’s a long time. I’m glad that I’m still here because I’m an old man now and I didn’t think I was going to see it, but I did see it,” said Beckwith.

He watched this week as President Obama announced the mastermind behind those attacks had been killed. He saw the crowds stream into Times Square and Ground Zero, ecstatic at the terrorist’s death.

However, he said he didn’t feel so much joy as the lifting of a burden.

“They did their job and it’s a great thing for America that we finally got him,” he said.

As for closure, Beckwith said bin Laden’s death didn’t offer that to him.

“No closure, not for us, not for the Fire Department, the Police Department, the Port Authority guys. Those people who lost, I didn’t lose anybody, I lost guys I worked with, their sons were in the buildings when they came down, that’s who you have to feel, how they feel,” he said.

Beckwith wasn’t sure whether he’ll be at Ground Zero on Thursday when President Obama visits, but he will be there on the 10th Anniversary, saying that day will be marked by victory.

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