Bel Air High displays 2,997 flags to remember 9/11 victims

When Bel Air High students arrive at school each Sept. 11, they are greeted by a sea of small American flags waving in the breeze on the green lawn.

Each flag represents one of the 2,997 victims who died in the 2001 terror attacks, including two men who were living in Harford County and a woman whose husband was from the county.

The annual display, launched by the Student Government Association on the 10th anniversary of the attacks, is a powerful reminder of what the day meant, SGA advisor Timothy Roth said Thursday.

Besides the flags, the school also puts out a beam from the Twin Towers, he said.

"It's really neat. The kids just really feel connected to the event, even though so many of them don't even remember it," he said.

Roth, who has been at Bel Air High for eight years and an advisor for the past three, said the display is "a school-wide thing," with the SGA calling for help coordinating it.

"It just really kind of knocks you over," he said, adding people driving by have been stopping to take pictures.

Roth said the school wants to ramp up its Sept. 11 commemoration even more next year and hopes to give out ribbons to parents when they arrive in the morning.

The school's newspaper, The Bellarion, wrote on Twitter Wednesday: "Don't forget to wear red white and blue tomorrow in memory of those lost on 9/11."

The paper also wrote "Land of the free, because of the brave" under pictures posted of the display.

"We really want to make this part of who we are," Roth said.

The three people with Harford County ties who died in the 9/11 attacks were Army Sgt. Willie Q. Troy, 51, who lived at Aberdeen Proving Ground and was killed on the attack at the Pentagon; Joseph V. Maggitti, 47, an Abingdon resident who was killed at the World Trade Center; and Deborah Jacobs Welsh, 49, who was a flight attendant on Flight 93 that crashed in western Pennsylvania and whose husband, Patrick, was a former Harford resident.

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