This is Carlton Sickles Day in Montgomery County, but it's a day that should be similarly celebrated around our region by all who live by and cherish the Metro transit system. A proclamation by Montgomery County Executive Charles Gilchrist calls Carl Sickles "the father of Metro," but others living and dead may have claims of shared paternity.

Our task is not to quibble. Sickles, as a Maryland state delegate, was a member of the first board to consider transit as a regional rather than parochial problem. Its deliberations in the mid-1950s set in train the actions that led to creation of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority and the construction of Metro.

Nobody could challenge Sickles' claim to the longest more-or-less uninterrupted involvement in Metro, as a state delegate, two-term congressman and plain John Q. Citizen. In the last-named category, he served seven years as a Prince George's member of the Metro board and, having moved from Lanham to North Bethesda, he has served three years as a Montgomery County member.

There will be a party for Sickles tonight at the Indian Spring Country Club and, take it from a reporter who wrote his first transit story for this newspaper 29 years ago, it's an honor well deserved.