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Memorial Day schedule of area events includes numerous salutes, ceremonies honoring veterans

Col. John Clauer

The tradition of remembrance for those who have died serving their country, Memorial Day, originated during the Civil War when more Americans lost their lives than all other wars combined.

Services will be held at area communities Monday, May 28 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.

The Park Rapids American Legion Otto Hendrickson Post 212 is instrumental in organizing the day's events, said Dave Traxler, who leads the Color Guard and is on the executive board of the Legion.

"We get everything going by rounding up volunteers, speakers, paying for the meals and advertising," he said.

At Monday morning's service, a prelude will be performed by the High School band under the direction of Jared Larson.

This year's Gold Star parents are Erland and Joyce Alto, Alfred and Erna Kable, and Robert and Christina Longfors. Gold Star parents lost a son or daughter in the military.

Col. John A. Clauer will speak at Monday's service.

Col. Clauer holds a degree in Business Administration from Cedarville University and a Master of Arts Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies, with highest distinction, from the Naval War College.

Col. Clauer served his country during the Vietnam War. He has served in Japan and in many other locations and in many different capacities. Col. Clauer's last assignment was as Commanding Officer and Professor of Naval Science at the University of Pennsylvania and Villanova University (Philadelphia Consortium). He retired in 2003 after 36 years of service with distinction. His personal decorations include: the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy Achievement Medal and Combat Action Ribbon.

Col. Clauer and his wife, Ruth, have three children and five grandchildren and reside in Park Rapids.

The Park Rapids service will also include a call to order by Commander Gary Schwartz, an invocation by Chaplain Fred Brown and an armed forces salute by the band. Special music will be "America the Beautiful" with Paul Fladland-Fargo as lead, Bob Bateman, tenor, David Vik, baritone, and Lefty Anderson, bass.

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 the Ladies Auxiliary and Blue Star Mothers will present wreaths and a memorial prayer will be led by Chaplain Brown.

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

"The day comes together because of several different groups," Traxler said. "But the Legion oversees it all."

n The Akeley Harold Harris VFW Post Color Guard will conduct Memorial Day services at 9 a.m. at the Akeley Cemetery, 9:30 a.m. at the White Oak Cemetery, 10 a.m. at Lemon Cemetery and 10:30 a.m. in Nevis.

The program includes a prayer service led by Pastor Harley Kietzman, lying of the wreaths and a 21-gun salute. The services conclude with Taps, played by Josh Kietzman.

Lunch will follow at the VFW.

n 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 program includes the National Anthem and other musical selections, a roll call of deceased veterans and prayers.

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

n The Anderson-Black Legion and Auxiliary and the Laporte-Benedict VFW will present a Memorial Day program at 10 a.m. at the Laporte School.

A short ceremony will be held at the Evergreen Cemetery at Kabekona at 9 a.m. and at St. Theodore's Catholic Cemetery on the north side of Highway 200 will be held at 9:30 a.m.

Following the main program at the school, a short tribute to those lost at sea will take place at the public landing on Garfield Lake in Laporte.

Services will conclude at the Lakeport Cemetery with Taps.

All are welcome.

n In Their Own Words Veterans Museum in Perham is offering free admission from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Memorial Day, Monday, May 28.

A waffle breakfast, sponsored by Perham Masonic Lodge, will be served from 7 a.m. to noon at the Prairie Wind Middle School.