On Memorial Day we honor those who lost their lives defending our country.

This is State Representative Roger Albert from Madawaska with the Weekly Republican Radio Address.

On behalf of the Maine House Republicans and our Senate Colleagues, I have the privilege of recognizing the sacrifices of the men and women who served our country, especially those who lost their lives defending our country.

Because it is impossible for us to name each hero individually, I will mention one Maine man whose heroic actions to save the lives of others cost him his life on November 22, 1952.

That man is Medal of Honor recipient Major Charles J. Loring Jr. from Portland.

Charles Loring distinguished himself in two wars.

A few years after graduating from Cheverus High School, in 1942, Loring enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force and received training as a fighter pilot.

He spent the next two years flying missions in both North America, then on the European front.

By December 1944, he’d flown 55 combat missions.

On Dec. 24, 1944, after flying 55 combat missions, Loring was shot down in Belgium.

He then spent six months as a Nazi prisoner of war before being liberated three days before the war in Europe ended on May 8, 1945.

Two years after the start of the Korean War, Loring flew 50 combat missions before embarking on his final mission.

His actions on November 22, 1952 would earn him the highest award for military valor in action that the United States can awards, the Congressional Medal of Honor.   

His Medal Citation reads:

“Maj. Loring distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and trepidation risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.

While leading a flight of 4 F-80 type aircraft on a close support mission, Maj. Loring was briefed by a controller to dive-bomb enemy gun positions which were harassing friendly ground troops.

After verifying the location of the target, Maj. Loring rolled into his dive bomb run. Throughout the run, extremely accurate ground fire was directed on his aircraft.

Disregarding the accuracy and intensity of the ground fire, Maj. Loring aggressively continued to press the attack until his aircraft was hit.

At approximately 4,000 feet, he deliberately altered his course and aimed his diving aircraft at active gun emplacements concentrated on a ridge northwest of the briefed target, turned his aircraft 45 degrees to the left, pulled up in a deliberate, controlled maneuver, and elected to sacrifice his life by diving his aircraft directly into the midst of the enemy emplacements.

His selfless and heroic action completely destroyed the enemy gun emplacement and eliminated a dangerous threat to United Nations ground forces.

Maj. Loring’s noble spirit, superlative courage, and conspicuous self-sacrifice in inflicting maximum damage on the enemy exemplified valor of the highest degree and his actions were in keeping with the finest traditions of the U.S. Air Force.”

Major Charles Loring died on impact and his body was never found.

On May 9, 1954, Loring’s widow received the Medal of Honor from President Dwight Eisenhower.

That same day, it was announced that the newly built Air Force base in Limestone would be named for him — Loring Air Force Base, which operated until 1994.

President Kennedy once said, “A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.”

His actions, and the selfless actions of others, is the reason that we gather on the last Monday of every May. Memorial Day is celebrated, so that we will not forget the sacrifices made on our behalf.   

We remember the actions and sacrifices made to ensure our freedom, and endeavor to be worthy of what was won and preserved at great cost.

It is our responsibility to pause and reflect on that, and be grateful for the great gifts that have been bestowed upon us by God through the sacrifices of the men and women that came before us.

May God bless those men and women, and the countless families who sacrificed along with them.  God also Bless America!

This has been Representative Roger Albert with the Weekly Republican Radio Address.

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