One hundred years ago, when Roy Day was but two years of age, if his parents brought him to view what was then the Decoration Day Parade he would have seen the “Old Boys” of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.), mostly locally of the 5th and 17th Maine Volunteer Infantry regiments, marching beside their sons, the veterans of that “Splendid Little War” – the Spanish-American War, paying their mutual respects to their comrades buried in Greenwood’s (Locke Mills) Mt. Abram Cemetery. Common to Maine in every village, hamlet, town and city, the marching veterans of the G.A.R. were themselves the grandsons of soldiers of America’s Glorious Revolutionary War. These men had brought their families to Maine, then a largely unoccupied district of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, to settle on land grants bestowed by the Commonwealth in payment for their military service.
In 1918, the grandsons of the G.A.R. were in their turn serving the nation in the Great European War, known today as WWI. It was those boys, when they returned to Greenwood, Woodstock and Mason Township, in 1919 who joined together in constituting the newly formed American Legion Jackson-Silver Post 68 of the Department of Maine, now celebrating its centennial year. It was Post 68 that Roy Day, a loyal and venerated member for some 72 years and counting, joined when he returned in 1946, having served in the Army of the United States in WWII. Two years ago, Roy stated that he “looked forward to celebrating the 100th year of The American Legion.” We, his comrades from other conflicts, many now the “old boys” of the Vietnam War, are ever grateful he proved to be a man of his word.
One reason for his longevity may be explained by 90 + year old Sterling Mills, a veteran of the Korean Conflict, who served as deputy grand marshal of the Greenwood parade. Sterling was overheard to say while commemorative photos were being taken, putting a hand on Roy’s shoulder: “Roy taught me to fish more than 75 years ago.” It is undoubtedly true that a bad day finishing beats a good day working any time.
His marching days now past, Roy sat listening to the Post 68 Memorial Day ceremonies, in the Grand Marshal’s Convertible, owned and driven by Woodstock firefighter Daniel Hoyt. Sterling rode beside his lifelong friend as their car proceeded from the Greenwood Veterans Monument to Mt Abram Cemetery. Post 68 looks forward to a redux of their roles next year.