Morning light along the San Diego River.

I stepped off the trolley in Mission Valley earlier than usual this morning. So I took a short stroll along the San Diego River.

Warm sunlight slanted through the yellow cottonwoods and green willows. Sky, clouds and trees shimmered on water.

It was another beautiful November day.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

New sights on a morning walk downtown.

A colorful canvas in the window of James Watts' studio on Seventh Avenue. I don't recall seeing this cool artwork before.
A colorful canvas in the window of James Watts’ studio on Seventh Avenue. I don’t recall seeing this artwork before.

This morning I walked south down Seventh Avenue, from the top of Cortez Hill to Petco Park.

I was happy to spot some new (and old) cool sights along this stretch of downtown San Diego. So I took photographs!

Some street art recently painted on a sidewalk utility box. I Love Downtown San Diego.
Some street art recently painted on a sidewalk utility box. I Love Downtown San Diego.
Complex reflection in the windows of the building at 701 B Street, which has undergone some upgrades.
Complex reflection in the windows of the building at 701 B Street, which has undergone some upgrades, including this west entrance.
Looking north up Seventh Avenue through San Diego's Financial District.
Looking north up Seventh Avenue through downtown San Diego’s Financial District.
Crane swings a load above the Bosa Tower construction site, with the old Hotel Churchill sign in the background.
Crane swings a load above the Bosa Tower construction site, with the old Hotel Churchill sign in the background.
Advertisements peeling from a construction site fence.
Advertisements peeling from another construction site fence.
A huge mural is now being painted on the rear of the Moxy San Diego Gaslamp Downtown! It appears to depict the Gaslamp Quarter.
A huge mural is now being painted on the rear of the Moxy San Diego Gaslamp Downtown! This cool new mural appears to depict part of the Gaslamp Quarter.
Reflections on the shiny Sempra Energy building, with the historic old 1887 Clermont Hotel in the foreground.
Morning reflections on the shiny Sempra Energy building, with the historic old 1887 Clermont Hotel in the foreground.
A new shirt with a West Coast State of Mind, in a window of the Padres Team Store in the old Western Metal Supply Building.
A new shirt with a West Coast State of Mind, in a window of the Padres Team Store, which is located in the Western Metal Supply Building.
Palm trees reflected in the glassy, very modern Omni San Diego Hotel.
Palm trees reflected in the glassy, very modern Omni San Diego Hotel.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Historical reenactment on Veterans Day in Balboa Park.

The Historical Unit of Southern California held an event on Veterans Day near the Balboa Park Carousel.
The Historical Unit of Southern California held an event on Veterans Day near the Balboa Park Carousel.

On Sunday the Historical Unit of Southern California provided a reenactment of two World Wars near the Balboa Park Carousel. Their fascinating Veterans Day event coincided with the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, the end of the World War One.

Smiling members of the group, wearing historical military uniforms, explained exhibits on the grass that primarily concerned World War I.

In addition to equipment used by soldiers on the battlefield, displays included photographs and objects pertaining to the Red Cross and Salvation Army, organizations that worked to provide care and comfort for those who fought.

Members of the reenactment group displayed artifacts from past wars, and wore military uniforms.
Members of the reenactment group displayed artifacts from past wars, and wore historical military uniforms.
Member of the American Red Cross Club of Southern California, a World War Two reenactment group founded in 2018.
Member of the American Red Cross Club of Southern California, a World War Two reenactment group founded in 2018. This was their first public event.
Medical items used by the American Red Cross, who aided suffering soldiers during wars of the 20th century.
Medical items used by the American Red Cross, who aided suffering soldiers during the wars of the 20th century.
Ephemera on display include old issues of The Red Cross Magazine.
Interesting objects on display include old issues of The Red Cross Magazine.
A timeline depicts the history of the American Red Cross through World War Two. The organization was established in 1881 by Clara Barton.
A timeline depicts the history of the American Red Cross through World War Two. The organization was established in 1881 by Clara Barton. (Click photo to enlarge it.)
Guys dressed as soldiers hang out on the grass by the Balboa Park Carousel, which itself is over a hundred years old.
Guys dressed as soldiers hang out on the grass by the Balboa Park Carousel, which itself is over a hundred years old.
A rifle, canteen, helmet, and other equipment from the battlefield displayed on a blanket.
A rifle, canteen, helmet, and other equipment from the battlefield displayed on a blanket.
This friendly lady's display concerned the Salvation Army. A sign shows some basic facts about World War I.
This friendly lady’s display concerned the Salvation Army. A sign shows some basic facts about World War I.
In 1917, Helen Purviance, an ensign in the Salvation Army, was in France with the American First Division. Soldiers asked: Can't you make a doughnut with a hole in it? The rest is history.
In 1917, Helen Purviance, an ensign in the Salvation Army, was in France with the American First Division. Soldiers asked: Can’t you make a doughnut with a hole in it? The rest is history.
These photos and artifacts are from World War I.
I believe these photos and artifacts are from World War I.
A doughnut with a convenient hole is enjoyed in the park a hundred years later!
A doughnut with a convenient hole is enjoyed in the park a hundred years later!

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Mayflower descendants gather in Balboa Park!

I'm welcomed to Plimoth Plantation West in Balboa Park by two descendants of Mayflower Pilgrims!
I’m welcomed to Plimoth Plantation West in Balboa Park by two descendants of Mayflower Pilgrims!

Yesterday I swung by the International Cottages in Balboa Park to check out an absolutely unique event!

The Mayflower Society’s San Diego Colony had created Plimoth Plantation West, a representation of Pilgrim history and life, focusing on the arrival of the Pilgrims in the New World and their establishment of Plymouth Colony. The colorful event was organized in anticipation of an important day that will arrive in two years: the 400th Anniversary of the Mayflower Landing in 1620.

I’m no expert when it comes to the history of the Pilgrims, so I was fascinated by many of the displays.

I learned about the Pilgrims’ various reasons for departing England, their journey across the Atlantic, the signing of the Mayflower Compact, the eventual anchoring off Cape Cod, the extreme hardships and many deaths during that first harsh winter, their friendly and not-so-friendly relations with several Native American tribes who lived in the region . . . even the sorts of games Pilgrim children enjoyed playing.

Many members of the Society of Mayflower Descendants were at the event in period costume, celebrating their ancestors and an important chapter in America’s early history. One gentleman I spoke to had descended directly from William Bradford, the governor of Plymouth Colony!

Here are a few photos of Plimoth Plantation West!

If you are one of the 31 million possible Mayflower descendants worldwide, you can join the General Society of Mayflower Descendants!
If you are one of the 31 million possible Mayflower descendants worldwide, you can join the General Society of Mayflower Descendants!
Someone points to a chart showing the original Mayflower passengers. Less than half survived and made it to the first Thanksgiving in 1621.
Someone points to a chart showing the original Mayflower passengers. Less than half survived and made it to the first Thanksgiving in 1621.
The Mayflower Compact, signed aboard ship, was the first governing document of Plymouth Colony. It specified basic laws and social rules for the new colony.
The Mayflower Compact, signed aboard ship, was the first governing document of Plymouth Colony. It specified basic laws and social rules for the new colony.
This friendly gent was dressed like William Brewster, a respected elder and leader of Plymouth Colony.
This friendly gent was dressed like religious separatist William Brewster, a respected elder and leader of Plymouth Colony.
A timeline of Pilgrim history begins with the formation of the Church of England. Puritans sought to eliminate retained Catholic practices. Separatists created secret congregations.
A timeline of Pilgrim history begins with the formation of the Church of England. Puritans sought to eliminate retained Catholic practices. Separatists created secret congregations.
One gentleman was demonstrating the use of a quill and inkwell. I learned ink was often made from berry juices, and turkey and goose feathers were primarily used for quills.
One gentleman was demonstrating the use of a quill and inkwell. I learned ink was often made from berry juices, and turkey and goose feathers were primarily used for quills.
Educational tools used by the Pilgrims included a Child's Hornbook, a form of children's primer containing the letters of the alphabet.
Educational tools used by the Pilgrims included a Child’s Hornbook, a form of children’s primer containing the letters of the alphabet.
Pilgrim children enjoyed very simple toys and games, and small crudely made dolls.
Pilgrim children enjoyed simple games and toys, like spinning tops, and small crudely made dolls.
The descendants of the Mayflower Pilgrims gather for a special event in San Diego's Balboa Park!
The descendants of the Mayflower Pilgrims gather for a special event in San Diego’s always lively Balboa Park!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Bells of Peace ring on a special Veterans Day!

The historic California Tower rises into the blue sky above San Diego's beautiful Balboa Park.
The historic California Tower rises into the blue sky above San Diego’s beautiful Balboa Park.

This morning, at 11:00 am, the carillon bells of Balboa Park’s iconic California Tower chimed twenty-one times. These symbolic Bells of Peace marked the centennial of Armistice Day.

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, exactly one hundred years ago, World War I finally came to an end.

In the United States, Armistice Day became Veterans Day, a holiday that honors American veterans who’ve served their country in war and in peace. So this morning, when the clock struck eleven, on what might be called the 100th anniversary of Veterans Day, a special ceremony accompanied the ringing Bells of Peace. Flags were presented and voices lifted in front of the Museum of Man.

These photographs relive that ceremony…

Bells of Peace rang out for the 100th Anniversary of Veterans Day! A special ceremony was held in front of the Museum of Man.
Bells of Peace rang out for the 100th Anniversary of Veterans Day! A special ceremony was held in front of the San Diego Museum of Man.
People gather for a symbolic, emotionally powerful event.
People gather for a symbolic, emotionally powerful event.
Gina Seashore, who plays the carillon inside the California Tower, addresses those who have gathered for the Veterans Day ceremony.
Gina Seashore, who plays the carillon inside the California Tower, addresses those who have gathered for the Veterans Day ceremony.
The patriotic Color Guard, from Ramona High School's NJROTC, moves forward as the ceremony begins.
The patriotic Color Guard, from Ramona High School’s NJROTC, moves forward as the short ceremony begins.
Flags advance to the front of the Museum of Man.
Flags advance to the front of the Museum of Man.

A trio sings the National Anthem.
A trio sings the National Anthem.

After the carillon bells ring twenty-one times, Taps is played.
After the carillon bells ring twenty-one times, Taps is played.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

The triumphant return of the Spreckels Organ!

The amazing Spreckels Organ, largest outdoor musical instrument in the world and the joyful lungs of Balboa Park, made its triumphant return today!

After six weeks of silence because of a broken motor on the main blower, the Spreckels Organ is once again producing fantastic music, with a little help from San Diego’s world-famous Civic Organist, Raúl Prieto Ramírez!

Raul began today’s concert with Johann Sebastian Bach’s powerful Toccata and Fugue in D minor. The talented San Diego Children’s Choir then took the stage to perform a variety of classical songs, including Franz Schubert’s moving Ave Maria.

To honor Veterans Day, Raul concluded the program by playing three John Philip Sousa compositions: Semper Fidelis, In Memoriam, and Stars and Stripes Forever.

In a troubled world where the flag often flies at half-staff, this Sunday we were reminded that human good can prevail. With a little dedication any broken instrument in this world–even the mighty Spreckels Organ–can be repaired.

I saw many smiles in the sunshine.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

A stirring preview of World War I opera All Is Calm.

Dr. Nicolas Reveles of San Diego Opera provides an overview of All Is Calm: the Christmas Truce of 1914.
Dr. Nicolas Reveles of San Diego Opera provides an overview of All Is Calm: the Christmas Truce of 1914.

Yesterday I sat on a folding chair inside the Veterans Museum at Balboa Park blinking my eyes. Several voices singing divinely about our essential humanity had nearly brought me to tears.

I’d just enjoyed a short but stirring preview of San Diego Opera’s upcoming production of All Is Calm: the Christmas Truce of 1914. This unique chamber opera is a mixture of the spoken word and male singing unaccompanied by instruments.

Together voices relive a profound moment during the horrific trench warfare of World War I, when “soldiers from France, England, and Germany ventured into no-man’s land on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Soldiers exchanged food and gifts, swapped prisoners and performed burials, and played football and sang Christmas carols.”

The inspirational opera All is Calm contains no original music. It is composed entirely from music that was popular just before the onset of World War I, hymns and timeless Christmas carols. The actual letters of common soldiers and orders from officers are among the historical texts that are interwoven with song. Young soldiers from both sides, manning hellish trenches that were infested with rats and lice, made even more miserable with winter rain and freezing snow, are moved to walk out into the field of fire, risking their lives, to share a moment of common humanity.

The opera will be staged in early December in downtown’s Balboa Theatre, a smaller and more intimate setting than the San Diego Civic Theatre, where San Diego Opera usually performs. There is some singing in French and German, but the opera is primarily in English. Silent Night is sung in different languages by many voices, which eventually combine and rise together as one. Music moves the human heart like nothing else can.

The brief preview of All Is Calm: the Christmas Truce of 1914 was simply amazing.

It gave me goosebumps.

These smiling ladies welcomed me to the Veterans Museum at Balboa Park, where a few parts of the opera All Is Calm were previewed.
These smiling ladies welcomed me to the Veterans Museum at Balboa Park, where parts of the opera All Is Calm were previewed.
Visitors to the Veterans Museum look at a large mural on one wall before the program begins.
Visitors to the Veterans Museum look at a large mural on one wall before the program begins.
One exhibit in the Veterans Museum includes artifacts and ephemera from the First World War. A gas mask speaks of trench warfare's horrors.
One exhibit in the Veterans Museum includes artifacts and ephemera from the First World War. A gas mask speaks of trench warfare’s horrors.
Director of All Is Calm, Juan Carlos Acosta, tells the audience about the making of this unique chamber opera.
Director of All Is Calm, Juan Carlos Acosta, tells the audience about the making of this very unique chamber opera.
Historical image of a young man who left home and went off to war in the early 20th century.
Historical image of a young man who left home and went off to war in the early 20th century.
Juan Carlos Acosta, Timothy Simpson and Walter Dumelle sing together in a short but stirring preview of All Is Calm.
Juan Carlos Acosta, Timothy Simpson and Walter Dumelle sing together in a short but stirring preview of All Is Calm.
All Is Calm: the Christmas Truce of 1914 is an inspiring opera that reminds one and all of our essential humanity. It will touch your heart deeply.
All Is Calm: the Christmas Truce of 1914 is an inspiring opera that reminds one and all of our essential humanity. Its music touches the heart.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

If you’d like to read a few stories about life, click Short Stories by Richard.