By Carol McCracken
Loring Memorial Park was dedicated to the memory of Major Charles J. Loring, Jr. in 2000. Earlier today some members of his family were at the Park planting geraniums and preparing the site for the upcoming summer season. Paul, brother of Charles and some family members will return in the fall to plant mums. In the meantime, Paul & Family make frequent trips to the Park to weed and water – since the Park has no access to city water.
Major Loring enlisted in the service in 1942. He served in World War II as an Air Force pilot. He was shot down and spent time in a prison camp. Loring 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 once again. He died on November 22, 1952. He was awarded the Medal of Honor “for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk at his life above and beyond the call of duty in action with the enemy.”
“We have three generations of the Loring family here today,” said Roberta Loring Donnini, niece of Paul. “It makes us feel good to do this. A core group of the family gets involved in honoring my uncle‘s memory.” Michael, Paul’s son was at the Park. Roberta’s husband, Bill and their daughter, Danielle, made up the three generations honoring the memory of Major Loring. Barbara, another niece of Paul’s and a sister of Roberta, was present as well. Their father, the late Harold, served on the Portland City Council for 12 years and was twice Mayor of Portland. The attractive Roberta said that she still considers herself a “Hill Girl” since she was raised on the Hill.
“My brother graduated from Chevrus High School so there is a display over there of his memorabilia,” said Paul who spearheaded the effort to dedicate the Park to his late brother. Moreover, Paul’s efforts had another positive result for the circle. It necessitated the cleaning -up of a long neglected area full of litter and other discarded material into a source of pride and an asset on the Hill.
So when Memorial Day is observed on Monday, May 25, it would be a place to take some time to remember our fallen heroes – who sacrificed their lives for mankind everywhere.