The Major Charles Loring Memorial Park was created in 2000 to honor Major Loring. It is dramatic in its scope, sensitive in its purpose, and inspirational to visitors. Created by artist Ann Uppington of Brookline, Massachusetts, and landscaped by the Saco architectural firm of Richardson and Associates, the various elements that make up the installation were chosen in consultation with members of the Loring family, local veterans, and neighborhood residents.
This park memorializes Major Charles J. Loring Jr., born in Portland on October 2, 1918, and raised in the Bayside neighborhood. He served valiantly as an Army fighter pilot in World War II and as an Air Force fighter pilot in the Korean War, earning numerous honors. The park memorializes him as a decorated war hero and as a person, and it conveys a universal message about personal bravery in life as well as war. As he said, “Not all of us are called to this kind of action but we are capable of small brave acts in our daily lives.”
The installation is very dramatic physically, being contained within an arc three-hundred feet around and one-hundred and fifty feet wide at the front, and landscaped throughout with native boulders, trees, ground plants and shrubs. Ringed around the outside edge of the arc are four nine foot-high, one foot-square granite “sentinel posts” each with a single word carved vertically in large letters into its surface. The four words, going from left to right are SPIRIT, INTEGRITY, PRESENCE, and HEART. At its center is a wide and deep grated well hole with searchlights that shine from the bottom at night, illuminating the sky and creating a most fitting tribute to Major Loring’s experiences as a fighter pilot.
The park was a community project in every sense, having been made possible by contributions from dozens of local individuals and businesses, and by the creative participation of Major Loring’s family and members of the Portland community.