Robson plans 9/11 memorial walk Thursday

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

Adrian Robson was 7 when terrorists attacked the United States in New  York City, Washington D.C. and when passengers aboard Flight 93 forced the airliner down in Shanksville, Pa.

Now 20, Robson is organizing a second memorial walk on Thursday. It is set to begin at 3:30 p.m. at the old Richmond County courthouse, travel down Hancock Street and take Highway Business 74 to Walmart, a distance of about 2.8 miles.

Last year, half a dozen people completed the walk. This year, Robson said, at least a dozen local first-responders have committed — Cordova Fire and Rescue, East Rockingham Fire Department, Ellerbe Rescue, Mountain Creek Fire Department, Northside Volunteer Fire Department and Hoffman Fire and Rescue.

The event is not a fundraiser, Robson said, but simply a day to remember. The day was Sept. 11, 2001. Robson was a second-grader at L.J. Bell Elementary School.

“I remember,” said the Rockingham native, “every single detail like it was yesterday. We’d just finished up doing (a) math worksheet. Our teacher stopped everybody and gathered us in front of the T.V.”

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Adrian Robson, of Richmond Rescue No. 2, is organizing a 9/11 memorial walk set to begin at 3:30 p.m. Thursday at the old Richmond County courthouse in Rockingham.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Adrian Robson, of Richmond Rescue No. 2, is organizing a 9/11 memorial walk set to begin at 3:30 p.m. Thursday at the old Richmond County courthouse in Rockingham.

The image on the screen showed one of the World Trade Center towers burning. But the attack wasn’t over.

“Then we saw the second one being hit,” Robson said. “I couldn’t fully wrap my mind around … I seen what was going on.”

At this point, Robson said he knew that “something’s out of the ordinary.”

In the United States, it’s not often that a 7-year-old has to learn the words “terrorism” or “attack,” much less cope with the aftermath. That’s exactly what Robson and the rest of the country’s second-graders did. In the days to come, Robson said “it was a weird feeling, a loss for the nation.”

“I hope that people don’t forget what happened,” Robson said. “Instead of a day of tragedy, I want it to be a day of remembrance for those who died.”

At the center of Robson’s message are those first-responders who died running towards, not from, the falling towers.

“We remember people who lost their lives, but I don’t think anybody thinks of the first-responders,” said Robson, a May 2013 Richmond Early College graduate with an associates degree in public administration from Richmond Community College.

A total of 2,977 people were killed in New York, D.C. and Pennsylvania. In New York, 343 New York City firefighters lost their lives as did 23 New York City police officers and 37 Port Authority officers. Each is remembered  at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, which Robson visited in 2012.

It’s a small percent of the death toll, Robson said, “but it’s not about the number, it’s about the individual lives that were claimed.”

Robson said he’s been involved in 9/11 memorial ceremonies for several years. Two years ago, there was a more formal gathering at Cole Auditorium in Hamlet.

“Even in school, I was always the one to head up something like this.”

Robson started as volunteer with Northside Volunteer Fire Department and has been with Richmond County Rescue No. 2 for about 18 months. When an emergency call is made, Robson said, residents expected someone will show up. It’s not easy work.

“We see things people wouldn’t imagine,” he said. “There are some things I regret seeing … but it’s what I love to do. It’s why we’re all in this field.”

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