While America may pause on holidays to remember the many sacrifices made by our nation's veterans, local members of the Sons of the American Legion pay tribute daily to their military forefathers.
"People don't realize you can't put a price on freedom," said 17-year-old Vinson Smith of Mount Airy. "Generations before me put their lives on the line so . . . our generation could have a place to live and call itself free."
Vinson, a senior at Linganore High School, is chaplain of Squadron 191 of Mount Airy, one of Carroll County's five Sons of the American Legion organizations. He said his father and grandfather served in the U.S. Marines.
"It's a family thing," he said.
A seven-year member of Squadron 191, Vinson volunteers his spare time to help with Legion activities.
"It's a neat thing to do. It gets you involved, and you get to know people in the community," he said. "A lot of dedicated people put their time into it."
Squadron 191 was chartered in 1979, and the 169 members on the group's 1993 roster represent a variety of ages and life experiences, said member Sam Jewell.
"The principle is to further the principles of the American Legion, to assist in carrying on for God and country," he said.
Mr. Jewell, who retired from the Air Force after 26 1/2 years of active service, said his father was a World War II veteran who spent four years in the Navy and 16 years in the Reserves.
One of four SAL members who also belong to the American Legion, Mr. Jewell said he is active in the groups because he "likes working with veterans and veterans organizations" and enjoys "working with the youth."
The Sons of the American Legion emphasizes a five-point program of service -- "patriotism, citizenship, discipline, leadership and Legionism."
Obligations of citizenship are fostered through community service. The group volunteers during Olympics Day at Camp Westmar, the Legion's summer camp for underprivileged youth, and they paid to send two local boys to the Western Maryland camp.
Squadron 191 also gives flags to area schools. It sponsored two area high school juniors at the 1993 Boys' State, and two members erected an additional veteran's monument at Mount Airy's Pine Grove Cemetery.
"In the spring . . . we purchased and installed the new 30-foot flag pole at Pine Grove Chapel," said Mr. Jewell. "One of our members also rebuilt the sign."
Leadership and discipline are encouraged through work at annual fund-raisers, which include a shrimp feed, two breakfasts and a rifle raffle now in progress.
New members are welcome. Male descendants, adopted sons or stepsons of American Legion members are eligible for membership at any age. Membership also may be tied to deceased individuals eligible at the time of death.
The Sons of American Legion meet at 8 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month at Post 191, 801 Prospect Road, Mount Airy. The next meeting will be Nov. 24.
For information, call Mr. Jewell at (301) 829-2532, or Cmdr. Brett Beall at (301) 831-7969.
Mount Airy has many reasons to be thankful, and some of these blessings come in pairs.
At last count, there were 56 sets of twins, from birth to grade school, living in homes with Mount Airy mailing addresses. The count, which is more than a year old, was made by Mount Airy resident Linda Mabry. She is the mother of identical twin daughters and a son.
"Due to the growing membership of the [local] Mothers of Twins club, the number can only have increased," said Mrs. Mabry.
Mrs. Mabry is one of 30 members of the social and support group, which meets for dinner on the first Wednesday of the month at the Olive Leaf Restaurant in Mount Airy. The meetings are mothers-only events, she said.
Club-sponsored events for the family during the year include a summer picnic, Christmas party, and various trips. Also known as MOMMAs -- Mothers of Multiples of Mount Airy, the group took home the Mayor's Choice Award in this year's Mount Airy Fall Festival parade.
The group's Christmas party will be at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 8 at the Mount Olive United Methodist Church Educational Building on Gillis Falls Road near Mount Airy. Santa will make an appearance. New members and their families are welcome.
Mothers of twins who might be interested in joining the group and would like to attend the holiday party are asked to call in advance.
For information, call Mrs. Mabry at (301) 829-2851, or Ann Sperry at (410) 489-7313.
From Grandma's treasures to baseball cards, a gala of gifts and garnitures will be featured tomorrow at the Christmas Bazaar at St. Michael's Church of Popular Springs.
Twenty-four craft dealers will display their wares at the free event, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Used books, plants, a baked goods sale, food and door prizes will be featured, and there will be an opportunity for the kids to have their photographs taken with Santa.
St. Michael's Church is at 1200 St. Michael's Road, four miles east of Mount Airy on Route 144.
An abundance of fried chicken, roast beef and ham will top the menu for a family style dinner tomorrow at the Winfield Fire Hall, 1320 W. Old Liberty Road, Winfield.
The fund-raiser will begin at noon, and will benefit Salem United Methodist Church.
The cost is $8 for adults, $3 for children age 6 to 12, and $9 for carry-out. Dinner patrons are encouraged to check out the bake table for a sweet take-home treat.