Families gather at Bel Air concert to remember 9/11

A sizable group of people gathered in Shamrock Park in Bel Air Saturday afternoon to commemorate the 10 year anniversary of 9/11.

The Susquehanna Symphony Orchestra led the Remembrance and Hope concert, hosted by 91.5FM WBJC host and program director, Jonathan Palevsky.

After commenting on the nice weather, answered by clapping from the crowd, Palevsky told the audience, "We're also, of course, here to mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11."

Saturday's concert also included a local composer's song, "Just Before the Autumn," by Benny Russell, a Harford Community College adjunct professor.

Russell was there that afternoon to explain the piece, which he said references the typical changes we see when the autumn season comes around. The changes in an autumn season 10 years ago, however, were not the norm.

"We were not expecting a change like we had 10 years ago, in 9/11," he said.

For Kelly Bock, a Bel Air resident, 9/11 was the day that everything changed for her, as it was for most of America. Her husband is in the Coast Guard, she added, and 9/11 meant an increased fear about his duty.

Bock came to Saturday's concert with her son to support people in the orchestra, as well as remember 9/11.

"I'm so glad they're doing something," she said.

Marybeth Wappe and her husband, Barry, both of Bel Air, agreed.

"It's a great idea and I applaud them for putting on a free concert," Marybeth Wappe said.

In general, Barry Wappe said, they like to support the orchestra, especially because their children, who are also strings players, were taught by Orchestra Director Sheldon Bair. For this concert in particular, however, it was also about remembrance.

"It's been 10 years … It's hard to believe it's been 10 years," Barry Wappe said. "It feels like yesterday that I was watching it on TV."

Also in the crowd was Ethel Engel, another Bel Air resident, who said she wanted to come out to show her pride in being an American and also in memory of the events.

Engel remembers being at home when her daughter called her about the first plane hitting the World Trade Center tower, she said. She watched on TV as a second plane hit the second tower.

The events affected her personally, Engel added, as a friend of hers from college was on the United Airlines plane that crashed into a Pennsylvania field after terrorists unsuccessfully tried to hijack it with the intent of crashing into the White House..

"It really hit home," she said, later adding that she knew many people in the military including her son, who served in Iraq.

"It just seems this is a good way to remember things," Engel said.

It hit close to home, literally, for Shay and Kris Burrows as well. Now Bel Air residents, the family used to live in New Jersey and got engaged in New York City. Kris Burrows grew up an hour outside New York, she added, calling it her "home."

"It felt personal," she said.

Coming out to the concert was about remembering what happened on 9/11, Shay Burrows, who called Saturday's concert "peaceful," said. The family also had plans to see the flag waving ceremony on the Route 152/I-95 overpass Sunday afternoon.

Betty Ann Smith, of Fallston, said she wanted to remember 9/11 and what it meant, and means, to the United States.

The orchestra concert was "nice," she said, a good way to commemorate the 10th anniversary. The attacks on 9/11, Smith added, showed evil yet also the good people who reacted to it.

At the time, Smith was working and about to go on vacation but couldn't because of canceled flights. Instead, she and her husband headed to Canada, where she was happily surprised to see all of the support.

"Every place we went there, it was just support," she said. "It was very heartening to see these 'God Bless America' signs all throughout Canada."

From Columbia, Dennis Hall came with two children to Bel Air Saturday afternoon support his wife, Kelly Hall, a trumpet player in the orchestra. Hall described the concert as good and said he liked that they incorporated the Deer Creek Chamber Choir with the orchestra..

Alexis Hargrove also came out to support someone, as well, a woman from her job who was part of the program. Hargrove, of Aberdeen, said she was enjoying the "peaceful" concert and what it stood for.

"It just makes you think of the good things we do have," she said, "and never should take for granted."

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