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Legion involves young in Memorial Day rites honoring war dead SOUTHWEST -- Mount Airy * Woodbine * Taylorsville * Winfield


For members of Mount Airy's American Legion Post 191, Memorial Day 1993 is both a time to honor our country's deceased veterans and a time to involve area youngsters in the annual observance.

On Monday, Post 191 will sponsor its traditional Memorial Day Service, beginning at 11 a.m. at Pine Grove Chapel on South Main Street. The choice of guest speaker for the ceremony, Mount Airy resident William L. Self, reflects the dual focus of the observance.

Mr. Self is a retired United States Navy captain and a veteran of the Vietnam War. He is also an assistant district Boy Scouting commissioner who serves as the liaison between the Francis Scott Key District and Scouting units in Mount Airy, New Market and Kemptown.

"Since I was 12, I've been in or associated with Scouting whenever my Navy duties permitted," said Mr. Self, who retired from the Navy in July 1991 after 42 years of service.

"Bill's service record and tremendous interest in the youth in this area made him a fitting choice to be the speaker," said past Post 191 Commander Art Brett. "Memorial Day is a day that young people should become aware of the sacrifices made by those who died for their country."

The tradition of personal honor, individual integrity and good citizenship of veterans as carried on by today's youth will be the theme of Mr. Self's Memorial Day speech.

"That's one of the things we fought for," Mr. Self said, "the youth of our country."

Mr. Self, who served as a Navy corpsman with the Marines in Vietnam, has received numerous military awards including the Meritorious Service Medal. He and his wife, Carolyn, moved to Mount Airy five years ago because it had a "small-town atmosphere" similar to their hometowns in Ohio. The couple has five children and four grandchildren. He is an active member of Post 191 and VFW Counties Four Post 10076.

The community, including area youngsters, is encouraged to attend Monday's Memorial Day service, which will begin outside the chapel with the traditional raising of the United States flag and lowering it to half-staff.

The ceremony will move inside the historic chapel for a program of prayer, patriotic hymns and remembrances of veterans who served our country from the Civil War to the Persian Gulf conflict.

The service, which has been a tradition since 1947, will conclude with the placing of a wreath at the monument to Mount Airy's war dead. The United States Marine Corps has been invited to provide an honor guard, bugler and rifle firing detail.

The service will be followed by light refreshments for everyone attending the ceremony at American Legion Post at 801 Prospect Road in Mount Airy.

The increasing numbers of area Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts who assist with Post 191's Memorial Day observances pleases the local Legionnaires, according to Mr. Brett.

Area Scouts again will assist Post 191 in placing American flags on the graves of about 340 veterans, said Mr. Brett, who serves as graves registration chairman. He said Post 191 helps decorate graves in 23 local cemeteries from beyond Cooksville to Taylorsville.

During the annual grave decorating, participants "go back in history" to remember the services and sacrifices of veterans. He said one of the oldest graves they honor is that of P. T. Porter in Winfield's Ebenezer Cemetery, who served in Company C of the Sixth Maryland Infantry and died during the Civil War.

Thanks to work done since 1989, Post 191 now has an extensive written record of all veterans' graves in the area that is updated regularly with information from relatives and recent burials.

"On Memorial Day, it is imperative that we remember our deceased veterans," said Mr. Brett. "If we who now benefit from their services do not, who else will?"


Mount Airy Recreation Council's 90 ballet and tap students ended their year of dance classes on Saturday evening at Linganore High School with an abundance of applause.

Ten classes of costumed dancers, who ranged in age from 4 years to adult, performed 17 numbers during their 1 1/2 -hour recital last Saturday. The theme of the event was 'Life's a Dance."

The students impressed their teachers, Karen Sheridan and Jeanine Smarrelli, as well as the audience.

"They worked really hard and it showed," said Mrs. Sheridan. "They should be proud of what they did, because I was."

Recital numbers ranged from a sweet "Teddy Bear Picnic" presented by the younger students to a black-lighted, jazz performance titled "Freeze Frame." Creative props included balls and chains worn by tap dancers during "Jailhouse Rock."

Linganore High School students Matt Street and Ryan Knight volunteered to do sound and lights for the recital. Emcee Bruce Witte also served as sheriff during "Jailhouse Rock," and backstage coordinator Tiffany Ruttledge helped the program run on schedule.

Mount Airy Recreation Council's ballet and tap students have a vacation from classes during the summer months. Open registration for the program will be held in the fall.

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