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Larry Smith, Minister of the Downing Christian Church, Downing, MO, will be the featured speaker at the Wallace W. Gillespie Memorial Post #4958 Veterans of Foreign Wars 68th Annual Memorial Day Services. The Memphis V.F.W. will host the special celebration beginning at 10 a.m. on the Scotland County courthouse lawn on Monday, May 26th.

Smith was born in Quincy, Illinois in 1939 and graduated from Chapin High School in Chapin, IL in 1958.  He served in the U.S. Army from 1958-1961 and was sent to Germany in 1960 during the Berlin Crisis.  While he was there, Francis Gary Powers, a U2 pilot, was shot down by the Russians.  Mr. Smith served as an Intelligence Analyst and attained the rank of Specialist 5th Class.  Smith was honorably discharged in 1961.

Smith earned a B.A. degree in Christian Ministry at Central Christian College of the Bible in 1977.  He served at the Prairie Hill Christian Church in Salisbury, MO for 12 years, and he has spent the last 28 years serving at the Downing Christian Church in Downing, MO.

Smith married Barbara Triplett in 2001 and they live south of Memphis, MO on the Triplett farm.

Post Commander Larry Curry will welcome the guests prior to the traditional placing of the memorial wreath by Clark Mustoe and the Pledge of Allegiance led by Charles Harris.

Robert Moseley, pastor of the Arbela Baptist Church, will offer the invocation prior to the performance of the “Star Spangled Banner” by the Scotland County R-I Band. The Memphis Community Players will provide patriotic musical selections for the crowd’s entertainment.

First Judicial Circuit Judge Gary Dial will have the honor of introducing the featured speaker of the day.

The Memorial Day Services will close with a rendition of “Sleep Soldier Boy” sang by Tom Cotton. Moseley will offer the benediction and the VFW members will present a 21-gun salute while TAPS is played by Melinda Briggs.

Event organizers remind the community that in case of inclement weather, the services will be moved indoors to the VFW post.