On Sunday, Nov. 9, the Hampstead American Legion Post 200 family hosted a free dinner for any and all veterans. It was an honor and a privilege to take this opportunity to say "thank you." Ninety veterans and almost as many guests turned out for the meal.
These men and women deserve our honor and respect. The title of veteran must be earned. It cannot be gotten any other way. They earned it and no one can take it from them. Some were drafted and some volunteered to serve, but they answered the call when their country needed them. They left their families, their friends and their homes to do what they were called to do ... keep the rest of us safe and our country free.
A brotherhood exists among veterans unlike any other. They know how hard it was to be away from home, the lonely times, missing their loved ones. A quote under the mural in the post lounge says it best: "It's not the price they paid to be a member; it's the price they paid to be eligible."
We had in our midst a room full of VIPs; not movie stars, ball players, rock stars or the like, but real heroes. We were amongst soldiers who served in World War II, one serving under Gen. George Patton, one who fought at the Battle of the Bulge, those who were sent to Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and other places in the world to keep the peace.
There were those who remembered being in the audience of Bob Hope's USO shows of which he did 57 tours to many parts of the world from 1941 to 1991. Bob Hope had such great respect for the men and women in the military that upon receiving an "Honorary Veteran" award, he said, "I've been given many awards in my lifetime — but to be numbered among the men and women I admire most — is the greatest honor I have ever received."
One of our guests brought bags filled with goodies that were prepared by the fourth-grade students at Freedom Elementary School in Sykesville that were beautifully decorated for the veterans that we could give away. Thank you, fourth-graders.
I would like to personally thank all of the auxiliary members who helped prepare and serve the food as well as the rest of our American Legion family who jumped right in to do the heavy work when needed.
We at the American Legion family have a deep respect for our veterans, so to all veterans, we say, "Thank you every day of the year; not just on Veterans Day. God bless each and every one of you."
Elinore P. Frush
Latest Carroll County Times
Historian, Hampstead American Legion Auxiliary Unit 200