HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. (CBS 2) — It was an intimate ceremony of remembrance as Long Island 9/11 emergency responders and their families gathered around the 20 ton historical Freedom Tower cornerstone, CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reports.
First set into hallowed ground in 2004 and crafted by masons from Hauppauge, it may return to the new World Trade Center site as a symbol of hope and peace from emotional survivors of Nassau and Suffolk Counties.
“The same emotions I feel today are what I felt right after 9/11. I tell you it was a tough time for everybody. And it is still a tough time for the people who lost,” said first responder Bob Beckwith.
Near tears, Beckwith stood at attention, nine years after he stood with then-President George W. Bush, who waved an American flag for the world to see.
That moment took the humble retired FDNY firefighter from his roots in Baldwin to the front page of newspapers and magazines across our nation. “I got a tap on the shoulder from the Secret Service guy who said ‘the president’s been looking for you. He wants you to have this flag’,” Beckwith said.
The resolve and testament of the American people was challenged that day, and now Beckwith said the fight endures to get our government to offer medical assistance. Sadly, he said, we have lost 900 men and women since those dark hours, to 9/11-related health issues.
“I want the people of America to know we can’t give up on these volunteers, these first responders,” Beckwith said.