Stephan Bunker, commander of Roderick-Crosby American Legion Post 28 shares the history of the two men the post is named for during a Veterans Day program Friday morning, Nov. 11, in Meetinghouse Park in Farmington. Lt. Thaddeus Roderick was the only Farmington serviceman to die in World War I while Cpl. George Crosby was the first from Farmington to die in World War II. On the table are plaques representing Roderick and Crosby that will be displayed at the post. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

FARMINGTON — Friday morning, Nov. 11, the history of the two local men American Legion Post 28 is named for was shared during a Veterans Day program in Meetinghouse Park.

“Today I want to take a few minutes to talk about two of Farmington’s bravest, who gave the supreme sacrifice in service to their nation and community,” Commander Stephan Bunker said. “Our American Legion post in Farmington is named in honor of Lt. Thaddeus L. Roderick, the only Farmington casualty of The Great War, and George E. Crosby, the first Farmington man to die in World War II.

The American Legion in Farmington was established during the evening of July 24, 1919, when approximately 50 veterans from Farmington and Wilton met in the Grand Army Hall in Farmington, Bunker noted.

American Legion was born in France with its first caucus held in St. Louis, Missouri, in May 1919, Bunker noted. American Legion is chartered and incorporated by the U.S. Congress, he added.

Boy Scout member Jameson Sullivan of Wilton in front and Cub Scout member Jameson Porter of New Sharon carry wreaths Friday morning, Nov. 11, to place on monuments in Meetinghouse Park in Farmington. The scouts were part of the Veterans Day program held by Roderick-Crosby American Legion Post 28. Korean Veteran Harold Beisaw is seen watching at left while veteran Peter Tracy is behind the boys. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

Farmington’s American Legion post was forming months before the official charter of the American Legion itself, Bunker said. “During the July 1919 meeting in Farmington, those in attendance voted to petition the Maine State Chairman of the American Legion for a charter,” Bunker noted. Fifteen local veterans signed the charter application – Robert F. White, George L. Pratt, Donald W. Greenwood, Harold S. Pratt, Luthier G. Whittier, True E. Makepeace, Harold G. Newell, Alfred J. Fortier, Freeland H. Starbird, Dan T. Adams, Linwood F. Adams, Linscott A. Nickerson, Hervey B. Jennings, J. Lawrence Derby and Raymond O. Stewart.

“A vote was taken this same evening to name the post after Lt Thaddeus L. Roderick, the only Farmington casualty of World War I,” Bunker stated. “Thaddeus L. Roderick was the son of Joseph and Mary Rodrigue. Thaddeus graduated Farmington High School in 1912 and attended the Farmington State Normal School now known as the University of Maine at Farmington. Thaddeus enlisted in the U.S. Army on May 29, 1917. He married Dorothy McKeen on June 21, 1917. During The Great War, Thaddeus advanced in rank from enlisted to officer. Lieutenant Roderick died in France on Sept. 18, 1918, from wounds received during battle. Lieutenant Roderick is buried in Riverside Cemetery in Farmington. His name is commemorated on the tablet inside a church in Belleau, France, and ranked as a sergeant.”


Cub scout Jameson Porter in front and veteran Peter Tracy salute after placing a wreath Friday morning, Nov. 11, at the Civil War Monument in Meetinghouse Park in Farmington. Members of Roderick-Crosby American Legion Post 28 held a Veterans Day program which featured the history of the two servicemen the post is named for. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

The following 22 years witnessed growth in membership and community service of the Thaddeus Roderick American Legion Post 28, Bunker said. “The Great War was not the “war to end all wars” and America entered World War II when the Greatest Generation served and sacrificed for our nation,” he noted. “It was in Guadalcanal [of the] Solomon Islands where Farmington native, Cpl. George E. Crosby, fought and died on Oct. 1, 1942. George was the adopted son of Frank and Helen Crosby. George graduated Farmington High School in 1937. He was an outstanding athlete and member of the basketball teams which participated in the Bates tournaments of 1936 and 1937. George enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on his 20th birthday, Dec. 4, 1939. He married Eloise G. True on May 16, 1941. Corporal Crosby is buried in Riverside Cemetery.

On March 5, 1946, a resolution was presented to members of the Thaddeus Roderick American Legion Post 28 proposing the posts name be changed to Roderick-Crosby American Legion Post 28 to honor Cpl. George E. Crosby, the first Farmington casualty of World War II, Bunker said. The resolution was unanimously adopted by Post 28 membership on March 19, 1946, he noted.

A Veterans Day program was held Friday morning, Nov. 11, in Farmington’s Meetinghouse Park. Roderick-Crosby American Legion Post 28 Color Guard members seen from left Robert Hallman, Stephan Bunker, Joe Paradis and Matthew Smith later led a procession to the Teague World War I Memorial Arch to place a wreath there. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

From the American Revolution to today, more than one million American veterans have made the supreme sacrifice, Bunker said. “They died so that we could continue to cherish the things they loved – God, country, and family,” he noted. “Farmington knows of this supreme sacrifice as evidenced by these memorials where we placed wreaths. Farmington is also built on the hard work of returning veterans who completed or are still serving their tours of service. There is an innate sense of selfless service and mutual helpfulness within veterans. It is a calling to serve something greater than oneself. This calling is the foundation of community.

“Lt. Roderick and Cpl. Crosby represent the best of our community,” Bunker said. “We are proud to bear their names on our beloved American Legion Post. These plaques will hang in our Legion Hall to remind us of our past, present, and future works.”

The State of Maine’s Bureau of Veterans’ Service counts veterans at 11% of Maine’s population with 51% of veterans over the age of 65, Bunker noted. According to the U.S. Census, veterans comprise approximately 9% of Franklin County’s population, he added.

“In 2021 2,089 Boy Scout units were chartered by American Legion families across the nation,” Chaplain Langdon Adams said. “We are proud to charter our local troop and Cub Scouts.”

Several youth from the two troops placed wreaths at monuments located throughout the park. They were accompanied by veterans and saluted alongside the veterans afterwards.

The American Legion color guard and others later went to the Teague World War I Memorial Arch to lay a wreath there, then a luncheon was served at the post.

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