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Members of the Park Rapids American Legion color guard get ready to march to Red Bridge Park for a prayer service Monday morning. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)

Soldiers remembered during memorial services

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Irv Morrill saluted the fallen soldiers Monday whose crosses occupy a secluded section of the Laporte Cemetery.

"I knew them all," he said quietly.

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"Ray Bosman, he was an Army pilot. He flew a B-17. He was killed in... There's (Frank) Niless. He was on a sub. Warren Olson was in the infantry."

Morrill was one of dozens who turned out on a gray somber day to remember the fallen.

Laporte was one of thousands of small towns that gathered for a day of music, prayer and remembrance.

In Park Rapids, Second Lieutenant Lacey (Thompson) Romie challenged the audience at Monday morning's ceremony to go home, do some research about someone who has served and remember them.

"Talk about them, pray for them and tell others about them," she said.

As a younger member of the military, Romie said Memorial Day is as important to her as others. She grew up in a military family and recalls conversations with her grandfather.

"This is a time to honor those we knew and loved," Romie said.

Many people know someone who is serving far away from home and "sadly, all too often, we learn our neighbors have died," she said.

She was born in Virginia and enlisted in the Minnesota Army National Guard in April 2005 as a junior at Grand Rapids High School.

She graduated from Fort Huachuca's Intelligence Analysts School in the same year and joined the 1st/34th BCT out of Bloomington.

In 2007, Romie was attached to the 2nd/136th INF in Moorhead and attended Concordia College for undergraduate school and ROTC at North Dakota State University.

She graduated with degrees in Spanish and International Business, with an emphasis in finance. Romie was commissioned into the Minnesota Army Reserve National Guard May 1, 2011 and branched quartermaster.

Romie said she learned the local Park Rapids American Legion Post 212 lost 38 members during the last year.

Monday was a day to remember each and every one of these members.

The Anderson-Black American Legion Post 462 of the Laporte-Benedict Veterans of Foreign Wars, along with the Laporte American Legion Auxiliary, presented a color guard and ceremonies at the school gymnasium, at the water's edge to commemorate those lost at sea, and ending at the cemetery.

"Small towns do this so much better than big cities," said Rev. Carl Jensen, who prayed at all three sites.

Children ran around the graves, pointing at the flowers, trying to read the names. Families gathered around tombstones to remember their loved ones.

The Park Rapids memorial service continued at Red Bridge Park with a memorial prayer and flag disposal at All Veterans Memorial Park.

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