Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who died in service to their country. The holiday was officially proclaimed in 1868 to honor Union and Confederate soldiers and was expanded after World War I to honor those who died in all wars. Today, Memorial Day honors over 1 million men and women who have died in military service since the Civil War.
Park Rapids, Menahga and Laporte have scheduled Memorial Day programs.
The Park Rapids American Legion family conducts the Memorial Day service, which begins at 9:30 a.m. in the Park Rapids Area High School auditorium.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the American Legion.
Guest speaker is U.S. Army veteran Roger Boyce, a Park Rapids American Legion member who served in Vietnam 1971-72 in the 11th Armored Cavalry with the 2nd Squadron of the Black Horse Regiment, attached to the 1st Cavalry Airmobile.
Boyce is a lifetime member of the 11th Cavalry Association, Wolf Lake VFW 8165, Park Rapids DAV and 11th Armored Cavalry's Veterans of Vietnam and Cambodia.
He has served on the Wolf Lake Township Board for the past eight years.
Boyce said he is proud to represent the U.S. Army in the Star of the North Marine Corps League at local veterans' funerals. He assisted the Fargo Vets Center and Hubbard County Veteran Services Office in establishing a combat veterans group here in Park Rapids.
He and wife Jeanne live near Wolf Lake, where they raised their children, Clint and Rachel. They are now "blessed with the most rewarding task of offering grandparent guidance to their five grandchildren."
Monday's Memorial Day program will recognize Gold Star Parents and veterans who passed away in 2018. Legion Chaplain Justin Fenger will conduct the invocation and benediction. Legion Commander Dave "Lefty" Anderson will welcome all.
Special music is provided by the Park Rapids Area High School band, Elizabeth Hensel, Sarah Kaufenberg and the St. Johns Lutheran Church children's choir.
Following the retirement of colors and playing of "Taps," participants will march to Red Bridge Park for a wreath presentation by Legion Auxiliary President Linda Swanson and a gun salute by the Star of the North U.S. Marine Corps League Honor Guard.
The program concludes at the All Veterans Memorial with a wreath presentation, prayer, flag-folding and flag-disposal ceremonies, gun salute and "Taps."
A meal will then be served at the American Legion.
Menahga's Memorial Day service begins at 10 a.m. Monday, May 27 at the school gym. Menahga VFW Post 6206 will present the colors to start the service. Essay winners MacKenzie Anderson and Greta Hillukka will share their work. Menahga students are participating through song and band performances. There will be a recognition of local veterans who have passed away over the past year and a placement of the wreath. Edward Elmer Koskela, a World War II soldier, will be recognized as well. A lunch will be served for veterans and their families at the VFW.
The Laporte-Benedict American Legion and Auxiliary will host Memorial Day events on May 27. Services begin at 9 a.m. at Evergreen Cemetery at Kabekona, then proceed to Catholic church cemetery on Hwy. 200, north of Laporte. A Memorial Day program will be held at 10 a.m. at the Laporte School gym. Following that, there will be a brief service honoring those lost at sea at Garfield public landing in Laporte. The program will conclude at the Lakeport Cemetery. All veterans eat free at Memorial Day dinner, held 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church in Laporte. The meal is sponsored by the Laporte-Benedict Lions Club.