Loring Post on Washington Avenue Honors All Vets Everyday


Major Paul J. Loring, Jr., for Whom the Am Vet Post on Washington Avenue is Named.  His Portrait Also Hangs in the State of Maine Room at City Hall, Portland. Formerly Loring Air Force Base in Limestone is now Loring Commerce Center, Named for the Air Force Pilot Who Grew up in Portland.

Lynn Edwards, the Manager of the Loring Post, for the Past Three Years.

Paul Loring, 89, With Some of His Grandchildren at the Loring Post Memorial Day  Observance Today.  He Has Four Sons.

Loring Post Member Michael Dobson Serves  the Sandwiches Prepared by Lewis Ausland Today.

Lewis Ausland at Today’s Observation of Memorial Day at the Loring Post on the East End of Portland.

Paul Loring, 89,  and his Son, Charles Loring, 111, Arriving at the Loring Post This Afternoon. Previously, the Two Had Remembered the Major at the Loring Circle with Numerous Other Relatives Including Cousins.   Paul is the Youngest of Six Children in the Family. The Major Was the Oldest of the Six Children.

Paul Avery, a Bath Native,  Rode to the Wreath Laying Ceremony at Monument Square. He Served Three Tours as a Marine in Vietnam.

“We are more than just a bar room,” said Lynn Edwards, manager of the Loring Am Vet Post on Washington Avenue on the east end of Portland this afternoon. We were seated near one of the large windows that provides a stunning view on a sunny day.  But not today.  It was a long weekend of rain and cold weather.

The 600 members who belong to the Loring Post do a lot of fund raising for non-profits like the Maine Special Olympics – a favorite of the Loring Post members who live all over the United States according to Edwards this afternoon.

“We also do anything we can to help vets.  We try to lead them in the right direction for information on benefits and health care,” Edwards said.

This morning what is usually a robust Memorial Day parade in downtown Portland with speeches and a wreath laying ceremony at Monument Square was curtailed because of the COVID-19 pandemic according to organizers.

Paul Avery, who served three tours of duty in the Marines in Vietnam was the sole participant in today’s annual parade.  Avery briefly recalled the animosity with which he and other veterans were greeted upon returning to the states following the Vietnam War.   “We were called baby killers.  You never get over that,” he said.  Brothers are supposed to support brothers.” The parade is hosted by Post 17 on Deering Street.  (See below right photo of Avery).

It was the youngest brother of Major Charles J. Loring, Jr., Paul Loring, 89,  who spearheaded the conversion of the trash magnet “CB” circle at the juncture of the Eastern Promenade and North Street into a Loring memorial park. It was established 21 years ago as a tribute to his oldest brother.  Family members come together several times a year to replant and care for the highly visible location on Munjoy Hill.

Major Loring enlisted in the Air Force in 1942.  He served in World War 11 as a pilot.  He was shot down and spent time in a prison camp.  He served once again in the Korean conflict.  During a bombing mission over North Korea, he sacrificed his life rather than be taken a prisoner of war again.  He died on November 22, 1952.  The Major was awarded the Medal of  Honor “for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity” beyond the call of duty.  He left behind a wife and two young daughters at the time. One of whom, Charlene, lives in Louisiana according to Paul J. Loring, 111, a nephew of the Major, and for whom he is named.  His grandfather served on the Portland City Council.

“All 600 members of the Post support the Maine Special Olympics,” said Lewis Auspland, who served six years in the Army.  Over a fourteen year period, Auspland said that the Loring Post has raised substantially more than $50,000. to support that non-profit here in Maine.  It’s a pet project for the vets at the Loring Post.

Back in 2005, Auspland was given a gold medal from a Maine Special Olympian teen who had just won it in a swimming competition at Sugarloaf.  “That sealed my commitment to the Maine Special Olympics,” he said. “I was so moved by that.”  Formerly working in the Portland seafood wholesale business, he likes cooking.  Today he supplied a variety of sandwiches to the traditional banquet for the Memorial Day observation at the Loring Post.

“As we gather together with friends and family for the first time in a long time, putting isolation and fear behind us, let us celebrate and show our great love for our state and our nation and for all of those who have endured so much and lost so much.  Let us honor with reverence all those who have faithfully served our state and our nation in the Armed Forces and those who gave, as President Lincoln said, ‘the last full measure of devotion,” said Governor Janet T. Mills in a statement issued for the occasion.

Please see posts herein dated May 16, 2009 and May 10, 2020 fore more background information on Major Paul J. Loring, Jr. and Loring Circle at the corner of the Eastern Promenade and North Street on Munjoy Hill.