4th of July celebrated in Balboa Park!

This afternoon at 2 pm there was a special celebration of the 4th of July in Balboa Park. A small crowd was drawn to the International Cottages where the House of the United States of America hosted the event.

Several members of the Sons of the American Revolution were present, and they had a table where I learned about the organization. They’re all about teaching a very important aspect of American history: its founding.

To join SAR you must be a verified descendant of someone who fought in the Revolutionary War. I was told that finding all that necessary documentation is an eye-opener. One quickly realizes that names recorded centuries ago were actual living breathing human beings, no different than you and me! (To see a list of the San Diego Chapter’s ancestors, click here!)

Members of SAR today work with schools and educators to teach American history. You can image how kids would be excited to talk to an actual honest-to-goodness descendant of our nation’s founders! If you’d like to learn more about and perhaps get in touch with these folks, click here!

Before the Independence Day ceremony got started, I got a hot dog with onions, mustard and ketchup and headed into the House of the USA cottage where I took some of the following photos.

Then it was time for the Sons of the American Revolution color guard to present the flag.

After the National Anthem was sung, a good old American rock and roll band entertained everyone!

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Photos of Scripps Ranch 4th of July Parade!

Today’s Independence Day parade in Scripps Ranch was a colorful example of good old-fashioned Americana!

Neighbors came out for a patriotic community parade that wound along several residential streets.

Families sat in lawn chairs on the sidewalk or under canopies on front lawns. Small flags were waved by many hands. As each parade entry passed by, rousing cheers erupted!

Politicians waved as they passed the crowd. Guys drove their red, white and blue decorated vintage cars by, wearing Uncle Sam hats. High school cheerleaders performed their routine for the parade judges. Local youth sport teams walked by holding up trophies. Little Leaguers pitched candy to the crowd. Scouts ambled by, some shy, others hamming it up. A church had a mobile pastor dunking booth. A waving, smiling group celebrated diversity. A local fitness group dropped down periodically to perform pushups on the street.

There were cheers for everybody.

What seemed most remarkable to me was how the many members of a large community can come together as one family.

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!

Coronado 4th of July parade honors American heroes.

Coronado’s huge Independence Day parade returned this year! The parade’s theme for 2021 was A Salute To America’s Heroes.

Late this morning I walked along Orange Avenue and took photographs of the patriotic spectacle.

The 4th of July Parade was cancelled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The heroes honored in this year’s parade included healthcare workers, essential workers and ordinary Americans–all those who sacrificed to help our nation through a very difficult period.

I’ve blogged about this epic annual parade several times in the past, with photo captions that provide detailed information. Today I’ll simply offer a glimpse of what I experienced.

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!

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Memorial Day at National City’s Wall of Honor.

Late this afternoon I attended a Memorial Day ceremony at National City’s Wall of Honor.

It was a special event for the South Bay community. Those who served in the United States Armed Services and have passed on were remembered.

The Wall of Honor extends on either side of the National City War Memorial, which stands overlooking a corner of Kimball Park. Plaques on the wall are dedicated to loved Veterans. Through the memorial’s arch children could be seen playing on the park’s wide green grass, and looking through that arch during the ceremony was like peering through the window of Freedom.

National City’s mayor and various dignitaries were in attendance and spoke. The Navy was represented as well. Retired vets who had served their country received handshakes from all.

I took these photographs of the beautiful and very meaningful ceremony. Memorial Day is a time to recognize sacrifices, and to seriously reflect.

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!

Celebration of Memorial Day by the USS Midway.

Around noon today there was a unique outdoor celebration of Memorial Day in downtown San Diego. The spectacle could be viewed in San Diego Bay and the sky above the USS Midway Museum!

A small crowd that had gathered by the iconic “Kiss” statue saw a Harbor Police patrol boat water cannon salute and a parade of personal watercraft arriving from across the bay bearing large American flags.

Then, after the patriotic parade had gathered in the water between the USS Midway and The Greatest Generation Walk, four vintage World War II aircraft belonging to Air Group One of the Commemorative Air Force flew twice overhead, and departed with the missing man formation.

Much of the event was at a distance from where I stood, but my small camera managed to get a few good photographs…

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!

Memorial Day flowers in Balboa Park.

After my visit to La Mesa today, I found myself in Balboa Park for another Sunday afternoon walk.

I kept looking right and left for an indication that this is Memorial Day weekend. I had to go to the Veterans Museum and Memorial Center to find it.

Even though the museum was closed when I walked past, I noticed fresh flowers and a wreath had been placed at its outdoor San Diego Vietnam Veterans Peace Memorial.

Those who fought and died in that terrible war are still remembered.

If you’d like to see photos of an emotional Memorial Day ceremony that was held at the San Diego Peace Memorial four years ago, click here.

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 Welcoming Arches and Bell of Oceanside.

The Welcoming Arches and the Welcome Bell greet motorists driving south on Interstate 5 as they enter Oceanside, California. The arches and bell stand just beyond a large American flag and beside the parking lot of an In-N-Out Burger.

I passed by the California Mission inspired structure last weekend as I walked down the Coast Highway.

Mission San Luis Rey, founded in 1798, is located about four miles east-northeast of these bright white adobe mission-style arches.

The Welcoming Arches were designed by noted Southern California architect George M. Adams in 1978 and dedicated in 1982.

The first part of the above plaque reads:

THE WELCOMING ARCHES

AN OCEANSIDE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE PROJECT

“THE WELCOMING ARCHES WERE CONCEIVED FROM A WISH THAT
OCEANSIDES’ VISITORS RECEIVE A WELCOME REFLECTING THE
BEAUTY, BOUNTY AND HERITAGE OF THIS AREA.

REALIZING WHERE THERE IS PRIVILEGE THERE IS ALSO
OBLIGATION, THIS ENTRANCE EDIFICE WAS BUILT BY THE
VOLUNTARY GENEROSITY OF THE PEOPLE OF OCEANSIDE”


..LORRAINE SHAFFER

Part of this smaller plaque reads:

“WELCOME BELL”
DONATED BY
OCEANSIDE ROTARY CLUB
JOHN A. STEIGER, PRESIDENT
JANUARY 1983

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Mural depicts boats in Oceanside Harbor.

This mural painted by artist Caleb Smith depicts Oceanside Harbor. Elements include two boats, the harbor lighthouse and an American flag. You can see it as you drive south down the Coast Highway near Neptune Way, not long after you pass over the San Luis Rey River. It was painted on the side of Harbor Liquors.

After I took a look at this mural on Saturday, I walked north over the river bridge, turned west toward the Pacific Ocean, and descended to beautiful Oceanside Harbor, where I took many photographs. Those photos will be coming up shortly!

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!

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Photos of high winds downtown.

San Diego is now experiencing very unsettled winter weather. High winds, rain, even thunderstorms and a funnel cloud or two. Lots of snow in the mountains to the east.

Today the wind throughout downtown was unusually strong. Especially by the water. Not quite the devastating winds we experienced one night five years ago, when numerous boats were driven into the rocks along the Embaracadero and sank. (You can see those tragic photographs here.)

But I saw flags flapping wildly, palm trees bending as if they were made of rubber, and I had to constantly hold onto my hat!

When I reached San Diego Bay, which is usually calm, I was surprised by the stormy, foaming waves. It always amazes me that deep water can be disturbed powerfully by wind along its surface.

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!

America’s Heroes of 9-11 mural painted by Navy SEAL.

A large patriotic mural paying tribute to firefighting heroes is visible to those driving down Main Street in Barrio Logan. It can be observed on the side of the FIRE ETC firefighter supply store.

Titled “America’s Heroes of 9-11,” the mural was painted in 2011 by Pete Carolan, a retired Navy SEAL.

To learn more about Pete Carolan’s career and accomplishments, check out his website here. I see he has painted an outdoor mural at the UDT-SEAL Museum, and “his many works…appear in such places as The Pentagon, our Nation’s Capitol and The White House.”

Pete Carolan got his start early in life as a lifeguard in Huntington Beach, California, became a world champion outrigger canoe paddler, and would eventually become a Navy frogman. He was chosen to be swim team leader in the recovery of the Apollo-13 capsule when it finally splashed down in the South Pacific.

He was the one who painted “Freddie the Frog” on the Sea King helicopter that recovered the astronauts. You can see “Freddie the Frog” briefly in the Apollo 13 movie starring Tom Hanks!

Should you visit the USS Midway Museum, check out their SH-3 Sea King helicopter. It, too, has been painted with Pete Carolan’s “Freddie the Frog!”

(You might notice I took these photographs late in the afternoon. I had to cope with glare produced by reflecting sunlight, plus a few trees across Main Street were casting their long shadows upon the artwork.)

UPDATE!

Here’s a photo I took at a later time when the sun and shadows weren’t being problematic…

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!