FARMINGTON – Dozens gathered at Meetinghouse Park in downtown Farmington this morning for the annual wreath-laying ceremony to commemorate Veterans Day; this year, two particular men were honored for their service and sacrifice to this country.
The ceremony began at 11 a.m. with the Legion Color Guard entering Meetinghouse Park. After a prayer from the Post Chaplain and an introduction of the local Scout troops, the Scouts assisted veterans with laying wreaths at the monuments in Meetinghouse Park.
Following the wreath-laying, Roderick-Crosby Post 28 Commander Stephan Bunker shared the history of the Post and the two men for whom it is named.
Lt. Thaddeus L. Roderick was the only Farmington casualty of the Great War. The son of Joseph and Mary Rodrigue, Roderick graduated from the Farmington High School in 1912 and attended the Farmington State Normal School – now known as the University of Maine at Farmington – before enlisting in the U.S. Army on May 29, 1917. Just three weeks later he married Dorothy McKeen on June 21, 1917.
During the war, Roderick advanced from enlisted to officer. He died from wounds received in battle on September 18, 1918, and is buried in Riverside Cemetery here in Farmington under the family plot Rodrigue.
In 1919, in honor of Lt. Roderick, the Post was named the Thaddeus Roderick American Legion Post 28. For 22 years the post grew and expanded the community service outreach, but the Great War was not ‘the war to end all wars’ and America entered into the Second World War.
In Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands, Farmington native Corporal George E. Crosby fought and died on October 1, 1942. Crosby was the adopted son of Frank and Helen Crosby. A graduate of Farmington High School Class of 1937, Crosby was an outstanding athlete and member of the basketball teams, competing in the Bates tournaments of 1936 and 1937.
Crosby enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on his 20th birthday, December 2, 1939. He married Eloise G. True on May 16, 1941.
Crosby is buried in Riverside Cemetery as well.
In 1946, the membership of Post 28 unanimously agreed to change the name of the post from the Thaddeus Roderick Post to the Roderick-Crosby Post, the name it has held for nearly 80 years.
“We honor the service of every veteran,” Bunker said. “We honor those who gave the supreme sacrifice. Lt. Roderick and Corporal Crosby represent the best of our community. We are proud to bear their names on our beloved American Legion Post.”
Two plaques were made with a brief inscription of Roderick’s and Crosby’s history, and the plaques will be hung in the Legion Hall to recognize and honor the two men.
After the wreath-laying at the memorials in Meetinghouse Park – World War Two, Korea, and Vietnam – the group walked down to lay a wreath at the World War One Teague Memorial Arch, recently rejuvenated by the Mt. Blue Area Garden Club and members of the community.
Following the ceremonies, the Legion Auxiliary hosted a lunch at the Legion Hall on High Street.