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Memorial services planned for area Monday

Services will be held at area communities Monday to observe Memorial Day.

In Park Rapids, a Memorial Day service will start at 9:30 a.m. Monday at the Park Rapids Area High School auditorium.

Maj. Gen. John Smith will be the speaker at the service.

Smith retired from the Air Force in June 2004 after more than 42 years of military service. He lives part time during the summer in the Park Rapids area. He is a former resident of Silver Lake, a small farming community of Minneapolis. He graduated from the University of Minnesota with a B.S. degree in economics.

He retired as a master pilot with more than 5,000 hours in various fighter aircraft. He saw service in Vietnam from Jan. 1965 to Jan. 1966 with the 311th Air Commando Squadron. He also served for several years in overseas assignments in Europe. In 1973, Smith resigned his regular commission and joined the Air National Guard as a reserve pilot. He went on to command at the squadron, group and wing levels before being chosen to serve as Adjutant General of Ohio.

Smith flew the following aircraft during his career: RB-57, C-123, T-37, T-38, F-102, F-100, F-4E, A-7D and KC-135R. He is a graduate of the Air Force's Squadron Officers School (1965) and the Air Command and Staff College (1984). He also attended the Army War College in Carlisle, Pa., graduating in June 1985.

He is married to the former Anita Bianchini of Phoenix, Ariz., and has three children and three grandchildren. Although mostly retired, Smith continues to consult for the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio. He and his wife spend most of the year in Columbus, Ohio.

After music performed by the Park Rapids Area High School Band, Bill Gilchrist will play "The Pipes" during the entrance of Gold Star parents.

The Park Rapids service will also include a call to order by Commander Dave Free, an invocation by Chaplain Art Wood and an armed forces salute by the band. Amber Johnson will make a special address and Trudy Maninga will read a veteran's tribute.

Following the service, there will be a parade to Red Bridge Park for a floral tribute at Fish Hook River. From there, the service will continue at the All-Veterans Memorial Park on U.S. Highway 71 south, where Blue Star Mothers will present a wreath and a memorial prayer will be lead by Chaplain Wood.

The program concludes with a flag folding ceremony, flag disposal and taps.

The Park Rapids American Legion Otto Hendrickson Post 212 and Park Rapids Legion Auxiliary sponsor the memorial service.

Services in Akeley

In Akeley, the Harold Harris Post 8508 VFW will hold commemorations at 9:30 a.m. at Akeley Cemetery, 9:30 a.m. at White Oak Cemetery, 10 a.m. at Lemon Cemetery and 10:30 a.m. at Nevis Cemetery.

Menahga to hold service

Menahga VFW Post 6206 will present a Memorial Day Service at 10 a.m. at the Menahga School gymnasium. The program includes a presentation of flags by the Menahga VFW Post 6206 Color Guard.

The mistress of ceremonies will be Carol Ann Cleveland. The Patriot's Pen speech will be presented by Tarah Cleveland and the Voice of Democracy speech will be by Kellie Isaacson.

Tarah Cleveland and Natasha Maninga will provide music.

This year's guest speaker is Pastor Bob Smith and will be followed with a prayer by Jim Lifgren. Recently deceased veterans will be recognized at the program.

Taps will be played by the Menahga VFW Post 6206 Color Guard.

Clara (Virgil) Kinnunen will present the wreath and Drew Maninga will present the poppy story.

A ceremony will follow immediately after the program at the cemetery. Lunch will be served at the Menahga VFW.

Laporte presents services

A short memorial service will be held at 9 a.m. at Evergreen Cemetery in Kabekona followed by a service at St. Theodore's Catholic Cemetery on Highway 200 on the north side of Laporte.

A Memorial Day program will be at 10 a.m. at Laporte Public School. The Anderson-Black Legion and Legion Auxiliary, and the Laporte-Benedict VFW are presenting the service.

Following the main program at the school, a short memorial service will be held at the public boat landing on Garfield Lake. Services will conclude at Lakeport Cemetery with taps.