ROCKINGHAM — First responders from across Richmond County will walk Monday to memorialize fellow officers who lost their lives as a result of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks 16 years ago.
That is, unless Hurricane Irma barges in. In that case, the walk will be rescheduled.
Participants will meet on the steps of the old Richmond County courthouse on East Franklin Street at 8:30 a.m. Firefighters are expected to be in turnout gear, and police, sheriff’s officers and emergency services personnel, in their dress uniforms, said organizer Wayne Covington of the Rockingham Fire Department.
The walk will begin at 8:46, the time American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. It will head south toward U.S. 74 Business and then, east.
At 9:03 — the time United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower — marchers will stop for a prayer.
After the break, they will continue east, stopping at the Rockingham Walmart.
The 3-mile walk is expected to take about two hours, including stops. The length of the march memorializes the distance one would walk if he climbed one tower, then descended the other.
Because it will include first responders, as well as fire trucks and ambulances, the march will obstruct normal highway traffic.
Investigators have said that 343 New York City firefighters, 37 New York Port Authority officers, 23 New York City police and 15 emergency medical technicians died responding to the 9/11 attacks, many trying to save workers trapped inside the fallen towers.
In all, about 3,000 people died as a result of the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and on United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
The first local memorial walk took place in 2013 and included a handful of people from the Northside Fire Department. Later years have featured marchers from the county’s various city and volunteer fire departments, law officers from the Rockingham and Hamlet police departments and Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, as well as rescue personnel.