“Life is so precious. It is truly a gift from the highest order. Yet life is so fragile. Sometimes I think we take life for granted,” said Commander Dick Paiement, at the annual Memorial Day observation on Munjoy Hill. “In our youth we thought ourselves to be invincible. Death is years away we thought – but not so for our fallen soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen,” he told a group who stood before him at the Loring Memorial Park at the corner of North Street and the Eastern Promenade this afternoon on Munjoy Hill.
The group attending the annual observation was composed mostly of relatives of the late Major Charles J. Loring, Jr., who died an American hero during a bombing mission over North Korea in 1952.His youngest brother and the only remaining siblilng was in attendance at the ceremony. Paul Loring, 90, was the driving force behind transforming the former CB circle to his late brother. 22 years ago.
In 1942, Charles enlisted in the Air Force and became a fighter pilot. He was shot down and spent time in a prison camp. He served again in the Korean conflict. During a bombing mission over North Korea he sacrified his life rather than be taken a prisoner of war once again. He died on November 22, 1952. Charles was highly decorated for his accomplishments and sacrifices. He left behind a widow and two young daughters.
There were eight children of which Charles, Jr. was the oldest; six boys and two girls. That large family left many to keep this legacy of the Lorings alive in Maine.
“Memorial Day was offiicially proclaimed by General John Logan, National Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic and first observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate Soldiers at Arligton National Cemetary. The gift if flowers at a memorial site is a ritual that occurs around the world and is understood in every culture. The floral tributes bespeak both the beauty and the brevity of life and evokes memories of days past,” said Commander Dick Paiement at the ceremony today. Paiement, 81, said he served in the Army for 38 years. He served during the Vietnman War on the Ho Chi Min Trail in military intelligence.
Charles’ father, Harold, was mayor of Portland. Loring Air Force Base was named in his memory.
The group was invited back to the Loring Vet Post, 186 Washington Avenue. It was catered by Seas Catering Business, Christine Butland, owner, of the two year old business.
For more background information, please visit post dated May 10, 2020 herein.