Thursday, 10 September 2020 17:13

Richmond County 9/11 memorial events dampened by COVID-19

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Richmond County 9/11 memorial events dampened by COVID-19 RO file photo

ROCKINGHAM — Richmond County first responders have honored those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001 and been honored themselves in remembrance of the sacrifices made that fateful day.

However, COVID-19 has put a damper on the annual local traditions.

Rockingham Fire Chief Harold Isler told the RO on Wednesday that a decision was made to cancel this year’s memorial march because of the pandemic.

He said his department will probably hold a small service at the station.

The march began in 2013, when four young men — Adrian Robson, Nathaniel Murphy, Josh Smith and Dalton Millen — decided to walk down U.S. 74 Business in the blazing heat dressed in turnout gear, carrying a U.S. flag.

The event grew the next year and the Rockingham Fire Department took over planning in 2015.

Each year, first responders — including fire and rescue and law enforcement personnel, both paid and volunteers — from across the county make the three-mile trek from the old courthouse in downtown Rockingham to Walmart.

Moments of silence are held at 8:46 a.m. and 9:03 a.m. — the times with the towers of the World Trade Center were struck.

For the previous 16 years, Roberdell United Methodist Church has provided a spaghetti dinner for the Northside Fire Department to thank the firefighters for serving the district.

This year, church members are still providing supper, but with a different Italian dish.

Chief Ed Causey said the church will have pizza delivered to the station on Monday since the event can’t be held at the church because of the pandemic.

Last year, the department was late for the first time in 16 years after having to respond to a outdoors fire in the Little Philadelphia community just before leaving the station for the church.