Coronado exhibit: Vietnam POWs fifty years later.

Tomorrow, March 29th, 2023, marks an important anniversary. Fifty years ago United States troops completed their departure from Vietnam, and the last group of prisoners of war were freed.

A powerful exhibit at the Coronado Historical Association museum remembers the POWs who returned to freedom, and tells their moving stories. It’s titled Open Doors: Vietnam POWs Fifty Years of Freedom.

I wandered about the museum today and tried to imagine the horror. Displays recalled how prisoners of war in Vietnam suffered. It had been a struggle to merely survive.

I then gazed at portraits of freed POWs and read the accompanying profiles. I saw how differently each man adjusted to life after their experience.

Many successfully returned to a more “normal” life. Many, having risen out of hell, experienced a strengthened sense of purpose.

As the exhibition description states: Open Doors is a testament to the strength of the human spirit and the power of human will, it is also a celebration of that second chance at freedom.

This same exhibit originally debuted in Coronado 20 years ago. Today, after traveling around the nation, it has returned.

Visitors are reminded that we all have the capacity for extraordinary strength.

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Playback Theatre and real stories at Old Globe.

A live outdoor performance was enjoyed today at the Old Globe theatre complex in Balboa Park.

Audience members were asked to share stories from their own lives, then an acting and music ensemble interpreted those stories up on stage.

The program was titled Imagine Theatre Presents: Playback Theatre. The event was produced in partnership with Imagine and the Chrysalis–Monarch Performing Arts Center.

I sat in the audience for a time and experienced how three stories were courageously told then interpreted.

One story involved a man’s serious illness, frustration and anger, then the realization that he could live one day at a time, to the fullest, with optimism and a sense of adventure. A second story involved the loss of a loved one and precious memories. A third concerned forks in the road of life, and how new opportunities arise with change.

This wonderful, very powerful performance was part of the Old Globe’s free AXIS Performing Arts Series. Click the preceding link to learn about upcoming events!

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

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!

Brave men run in La Jolla!

Walk beside the ocean in La Jolla and you might observe the curious statement: BRAVE MEN RUN IN MY FAMILY.

The bold words appear in a large outdoor mural, on a wall of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego high above Coast Boulevard. The humorous wordplay is coupled with the silhouette of a tall ship under many sails running before the wind.

The title of the mural is Brave Men of La Jolla. It’s by Southern California pop artist Ed Ruscha. Created in 1995-1996, the image is acrylic on PVC coated fabric and measures a whopping 24.75 x 36 feet.

I took photographs of the mural from MCASD’s Edwards Sculpture Garden during my visit to the recently renovated museum a few weekends ago.

If the sly “brave men run in my family” quote seems familiar, it was originally spoken by Bob Hope’s cowardly dentist character “Painless” Peter Potter in the 1948 comedy The Paleface. He says these words when faced with danger, and then he promptly runs away!

Would the brave men of La Jolla do the same?

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San Diego buses reserve a seat for Rosa Parks!

Today was a special day on San Diego’s MTS buses. A front seat was reserved on every bus in honor of Rosa Parks! Today, February 4, is her birthday!

I happened to see the above “reserved seat” sign as I boarded the 120 bus this evening at Fashion Valley. The driver admired the sign again and straightened it after I took my photo. As I rode toward home, I remembered there’s a special bus stop dedicated to Rosa Parks on the 44 route, at San Diego Mesa College.

Rosa Parks was largely responsible for starting the civil rights movement in the United States, when she refused to give up her front seat on a segregated Montgomery, Alabama city bus in 1955. Later in life she visited San Diego Mesa College and received an award for her legendary courage and activism.

I took photos of that special bus stop, its historical displays and a nearby bench with the inscription Quiet Strength, a year ago. See those photographs here!

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Veterans honored at VA Medical Center trolley station.

Veterans are conspicuously honored at the new VA Medical Center trolley station. The station opened for service last month as part of the San Diego Trolley’s Mid-Coast extension. If you’d like to see photos from the Blue Line extension’s big opening day, click here.

Plaques and flags representing five branches of the United States Armed Services, and words like Duty and Sacrifice embedded in the station’s platform, salute those who’ve worked to defend our nation and the freedoms we enjoy.

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!

She is LOVED, FREE and STRONG in East Village!

I spotted this uplifting, encouraging mural early this morning as I walked down J Street in San Diego’s East Village. The artwork is located on a wall between 16th Street and 17th Street.

I believe the mural was painted about a year ago. I don’t know by whom.

The three positive messages are: She is loved! She is free! She is strong!

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!

Rosa Parks and the Quiet Strength bus stop.

One bus stop at San Diego Mesa College is extraordinary. It’s a place where the quiet strength of Rosa Parks is remembered and celebrated.

When you do the right thing, but many are against you, it requires strength. That’s what Rosa Parks had back in 1955, when she refused to give up her front seat on a segregated Montgomery, Alabama city bus.

This special MTS bus stop at Mesa College, referred to as the Rosa Parks Transit Center, features signs that describe the history of civil rights activist Rosa Parks and her visits to the school in the 1990’s. It also includes a graceful bench to one side, with the words QUIET STRENGTH.

The Rosa Parks Memorial Project was finished in 2010. Passengers waiting for the bus here are encouraged to reflect. Perhaps they will realize that they, too, are part of history.

Rosa Parks visited San Diego Mesa College in 1992, 1993 and 1995.
Rosa Parks’ act of quiet courage mobilized the Civil Rights Movement of the 20th Century.
QUIET STRENGTH

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!

Girl Scouts work to make a better community!

Believe.
Believe.

Today I enjoyed a tour of a fantastic outdoor mural exhibition in San Ysidro. It was the highlight of my day. I’ll blog about that shortly.

Earlier in the afternoon, I walked a little around the neighborhood and found myself looking at some creative artwork on a fence at the San Ysidro Community Center. I’d stumbled upon the Gold Award project of two local Girl Scouts!

According to a sign on the fence, in 2018 Orian Martinez restored the community center’s outdoor playground, and Sofia Perez-Valles created the Utopia Mural on the surrounding fence, embellishing it with positive messages.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has closed the San Ysidro Community Center and its outdoor area for many months now, so if things look a bit weathered and ragged, you can understand why. But the positive efforts and messages endure.

The actions and leadership of these two Girl Scouts have indeed made the world (and their community) a better place!

Utopia Mural.
Utopia Mural.

Butterflies decorate a gate to an outdoor playground and gathering place.
Butterflies decorate a gate to an outdoor playground and gathering place.

Sign near entrance to San Ysidro Community Center.
Sign near entrance to San Ysidro Community Center.

Two Girl Scouts achieved the Gold Award for a 2018 project at the San Ysidro Community Center.
Two Girl Scouts achieved the Gold Award for a 2018 project at the San Ysidro Community Center.

Recycled materials turned to art on the chain link fence.
Recycled materials turned to art on the chain link fence.

Courage.
Courage.

More colorful butterflies.
More colorful butterflies.

Action Changes Things.
Action Changes Things.

The future has many names...
The future has many names. For the fearful, the unknown. For the weak, the unreachable. For the brave, an opportunity.

Action is the foundational...
Action is the foundational…

...skill to all success.
…skill to all success.

Fall seven times and get up eight.
Fall seven times and get up eight.

If you do what you've always done, you'll get where you've always gone.
If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll arrive where you’ve always gone.

Changes bring opportunity.
Changes bring opportunity.

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!

Bust of a San Diego Air Force hero.

The beautifully sculpted commemorative bust of San Diego resident, retired Brigadier General Robert L. Cardenas, USAF occupies a place of honor in Balboa Park. The bust can be found in the Veterans Memorial Garden, a short walk from the entrance to the The Veterans Museum at Balboa Park.

I was on hand to observe the sculpture’s unveiling almost six years ago. The ceremony was held during a Spirit of ’45 event that honored heroes of World War II. To see that inspirational blog post, click here.

I’ve decided to post photographs of the Cardenas bust today because it’s Memorial Day–one of those days when we express our gratitude to all military service members. And because I posted photos of another sculpture by the same artist a couple days ago.

San Diego sculptor Richard Becker also created Liberation, a statue at Miramar National Cemetery. That bronze sculpture remembers and honors Prisoners of War. You can see the emotionally powerful Liberation here.

Brigadier General Robert L. Cardenas, USAF has a list of achievements and awards a mile long. Please read his Wikipedia page here. You’ll learn that in World War II, after he was shot down during a mission over Germany, he swam across a lake into Switzerland to escape capture, then rejoined the fight. You’ll also learn that years later, from a B-29 Superfortress that he piloted, he dropped the experimental supersonic X-1 aircraft flown by Chuck Yeager, who broke the sound barrier.

Behind the bust of Robert Cardenas you can see a sculpture of a B-24 Liberator bomber from World War II. It’s the plane that Robert Cardenas flew during the Second World War.

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!

Inspirational street art in North Park!

This is tough but so are you.
This is tough but so are you.

Need a little hope and optimism during this difficult time?

Check out all this inspirational street art I discovered today during my walk through North Park!

I found positive artwork painted on an electrical box, hopeful chalk art on the sidewalk, and two cool murals (first and last photos) by PANDR Design Co., the folks who created the popular “SMILE, You’re in San Diego” mural downtown! (You can see that mural and learn more about the artists here!)

You are a radiant beam of light and capable of so much good.
You are a radiant beam of light and capable of so much good.

You got this.
You got this.

Some happy, positive street art in North Park.
Some happy, positive street art in North Park.

Breathe. You are loved.
Breathe. You are loved.

I know it's hard now but it will get better.
I know it’s hard now but it will get better.

Better day ahead.
Better days ahead.

We'll get through it together.
We’ll get through it together.

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!