Photos of Vietnam War Memorial in La Mesa.

At the center of La Mesa's HYFD Vietnam Memorial Park stands a three-sided monument containing many plaques.
At the center of La Mesa’s HYFD Vietnam Memorial Park stands a three-sided monument containing many plaques.

A beautiful memorial in La Mesa remembers Vietnam Veterans who gave their lives for their country. The Heartland Youth for Decency Vietnam Memorial Park was originally built in 1970, then restored and rededicated in 2014. It can be found at the corner of University Avenue and Nebo Drive.

A community group of young people called Heartland Youth for Decency (HYFD) built the monument at a time when there was a great deal of contention about the Vietnam War. Its purpose was to honor veterans from San Diego’s East County who were killed during that horrible war.

Here are photos that I took today. The small Memorial Park can seem lost in the endless hustle and bustle of surrounding streets. But words that speak of courage, grief and honor stand quietly waiting, for any who wish to see.

Read the captions for a bit more description.

Flags fly in the January breeze. A helmet atop a cross, signifying those killed during the Vietnam War.
Flags fly in the January breeze. A helmet atop a cross, signifying those killed during the Vietnam War.
Greater Love Hath No Man... Heartland Area Vietnam Deaths
Greater Love Hath No Man… Heartland Area Vietnam Deaths
We of Heartland Youth for Decency dedicate this monument to the young men from our own generation who have given their lives that we might be free.
We of Heartland Youth for Decency dedicate this monument to the young men from our own generation who have given their lives that we might be free.
A man died for me today...
A man died for me today…
A beautiful tile mosaic bench in the park with American flag and peace sign.
A colorful tile mosaic bench in the park with American flag and peace sign.
A second bench has a star at either end.
A second bench has a star at either end.
A bald eagle, symbol of the United States. Freedom Is Not Free.
A bald eagle, symbol of the United States. Freedom Is Not Free.
A simple, emotionally powerful letter at the base of the flagpole. ...Most of all, Father, I love you.
A simple, emotionally powerful letter at the base of the flagpole. …Most of all, Father, I love you.
To one side stands the POW/MIA Empty Chair. And the words: Lest We Forget.
To one side stands the POW/MIA Empty Chair. And the words: Lest We Forget.
Powerful symbols in a small La Mesa park.
Powerful symbols in a small La Mesa park.
American eagle and flag mosaic art on rear of the POW/MIA Empty Chair is by the Rainforest Art Project.
American eagle and flag mosaic art on rear of the POW/MIA Empty Chair is by the Rainforest Art Project.

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!

Windblown banners on a November day.

A windy day in November.

Banners all about the Broadway Pier fluttered and billowed in the sunlight.

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!

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!

Remembering, helping Veterans this weekend.

Sunday is Veterans Day.

At events around San Diego County, ordinary citizens will honor heroes who’ve served our country. Flags will wave, bands will march, memories will be shared. Handshakes will transmit gratitude.

Over the years I’ve attended a variety of events that celebrate veterans. I’ve also learned of several ways to provide veterans with a little assistance.

Here are links to past blog posts that might interest you…

Photos of the San Diego Veterans Day Parade!

Veteran’s Day celebrated in Balboa Park.

World War II vets honored on USS Midway.

World War II vets honored at Spirit of ’45 event.

American heroes honored at Veterans Museum.

Students interview veterans for USS Midway exhibit.

Heroes of Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial.

Check the following links for opportunities to make a donation or help in some other way…

Helping veterans heal through creative art.

How to get support from fellow Veterans in San Diego.

Two ways to thank those who served and sacrificed.

Horse therapy helps veterans recover from trauma.

Spreckels Organ raises funds for Operation Rebound.

Photos of Massing of the Colors in San Diego.

The 62nd Annual Massing of the Colors and Service of Remembrance was held this morning at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park. The stirring, patriotic event is organized by the San Diego Chapter of The Military of the World Wars. Its purpose is to honor the flag and support and remember those who have served our country and defended liberty, including those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

The parade of color guards this year included about 30 groups, from a variety of local organizations representing ordinary Americans, the military, veterans, law enforcement, JROTC and ROTC, and scouting.

The annual Massing of the Colors has been held at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion for 62 years without interruption. During a speech, special recognition was given to the Daughters of the American Revolution, who have faithfully participated in this patriotic celebration every single year.

When I arrived at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, a practice run was just finishing up. After a short wait, the parade of color guards commenced.

I will let my photographs tell the story.

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!

Paintings by Kadir Nelson exhibited in San Diego.

So Together, 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
So Together, 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.

An important exhibition of paintings by acclaimed artist Kadir Nelson is now showing at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park.

On display is the original artwork used to illustrate the picture book Blue Sky, White Stars, this year’s KPBS One Book, One San Diego for Kids Selection. Young students across our city will be reading the picture book this year, sharing their experience together. The author is Sarvinder Naberhaus.

The book’s original paintings by Kadir Nelson contain iconic American imagery, and often include the patriotic red, white and blue of the American flag. Ideals such as Liberty, Justice and Equality proudly live in the faces of his subjects. His powerful, humane artwork has been compared to that of Norman Rockwell.

Kadir Nelson spent his formative years in San Diego, attending Crawford High School. The exhibition at the San Diego History Center includes a few examples of his early drawings.

As an artist of international stature, Kadir Nelson has produced art for many award-winning books, The New Yorker magazine, Sports Illustrated, The Coca-Cola Company, and Major League Baseball. His work appears on United States Postal Service commemorative stamps and on Michael Jackson’s posthumously released album. His paintings can be found in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, The National Baseball Hall of Fame, and the U.S. House of Representatives.

Visit this exhibition at the San Diego History Center and you’ll quickly see that Kadir Nelson is a truly extraordinary American artist, whose striking images linger in your mind. You’ll also perceive the optimism and heart that gives amazing life to his work.

The Spectacle, 2016, gracing the front cover of Blue Sky, White Stars, was painted by Kadir Nelson.
The Spectacle, 2016, gracing the front cover of Blue Sky, White Stars, was painted by Kadir Nelson.
In a short video at the San Diego History Center, Kadir Nelson talks about his work and inspiration.
In a short video at the San Diego History Center, Kadir Nelson talks about his work and inspiration.
Displayed in the exhibition are seven books featuring the bold, powerfully moving artwork of Kadir Nelson.
Displayed in the exhibition are seven books featuring the bold, powerfully moving artwork of Kadir Nelson.
Eight extraordinary The New Yorker covers with artwork by Kadir Nelson.
Eight extraordinary The New Yorker covers with artwork by Kadir Nelson.
A drawing by Kadir Nelson from his teen years. Crawford Horse Sitting on Mascots, 1991, pen and ink on paper.
A drawing by Kadir Nelson from his teen years. Crawford Horse Sitting on Mascots, 1991, pen and ink on paper.
Pioneers (White Rows), 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
Pioneers (White Rows), 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
Sew Together (Betsy Ross), 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
Sew Together (Betsy Ross), 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
Well Worn: Abe Lincoln, 2016, Kadir Nelson.
Well Worn: Abe Lincoln, 2016, Kadir Nelson.
We Shall Overcome, 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
We Shall Overcome, 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
Stand Proud (Civil War Soldiers), 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
Stand Proud (Civil War Soldiers), 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
Cracker Jacks, 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
Cracker Jacks, 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
The Patriot, 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.
The Patriot, 2016, oil on canvas, Kadir Nelson.

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!

Colors of patriotism at big Fourth of July parade!

Flags move forward down Orange Avenue during the 2018 Fourth of July Parade in Coronado.
Flags move forward down Orange Avenue during the 2018 Fourth of July Parade in Coronado.

This morning I headed to Coronado to enjoy another Fourth of July parade.

This is the third year I’ve photographed the epic event. I had considered going elsewhere this year, but Independence Day in Coronado is special, and their patriotic parade is arguably the very best in the entire country, so I couldn’t resist experiencing it all again one more time!

I arrived early to Coronado and walked about for a bit, then found a spot on the parade route just before it started down Orange Avenue.

Here are some colorful photos…

People gather in Coronado for a patriotic Fourth of July Celebration.
People slowly gather in Coronado for a patriotic Fourth of July Celebration.
A guy waits on the sidewalk for the big morning parade with a flag ready.
A guy waits on the sidewalk for the big morning parade with his flag ready.
Red, white and blue bunting could be seen on shops and buildings throughout Coronado.
Red, white and blue bunting could be seen on shops and buildings throughout Coronado.
Kid heads down Orange Avenue on a small bicycle decorated for Independence Day.
Kid heads down Orange Avenue on a small bicycle decorated for Independence Day.
Many homes had patriotic banners and decorations. Most residents in Coronado support our country and our liberty.
Many homes had patriotic banners and decorations. Most residents in Coronado support our country and its core principle of human liberty.
A smiling Uncle Sam at someone's front gate.
A smiling Uncle Sam at someone’s front gate.
These tie-dye Coronado shirts in front of a shop are red, white and blue.
These tie-dye Coronado shirts in front of a shop are red, white and blue.
People relax and look at artwork for sale in Spreckels Park. An afternoon concert in the park features patriotic music.
People relax and look at artwork for sale in Spreckels Park. An afternoon concert in the park features patriotic music.
Patriotic wreath and bouquet in front of the Coronado Police headquarters honor and remember Senior Volunteer Patrol volunteers who recently passed away.
Patriotic wreath and bouquet in front of the Coronado Police headquarters honor and remember Senior Volunteer Patrol volunteers who recently passed away.
Portraits of hometown heroes.
Portraits of hometown heroes.
People head down Orange Avenue as the parade is about to begin.
People head down Orange Avenue to get in their spots as the parade is about to begin.
Hats are removed and hands placed over hearts as thousands sing the National Anthem.
Hats are removed and hands placed over hearts as thousands sing the National Anthem.
Can you see it yet? Here comes the parade!
Can you see it yet? The parade? Here it comes!
Members of San Diego County law enforcement come down the parade route on horseback.
Members of San Diego County law enforcement from Escondido ride down the parade route on horseback.
The Grand Marshall this year was Vice Admiral Brown.
The distinguished Grand Marshall this year was Vice Admiral Brown.
Several waving Pearl Harbor survivors received great applause from the crowd.
Several heroic Pearl Harbor survivors received great applause from the crowd.
The Fourth of July Parade in Coronado goes on and on with too many participants to mention!
The Fourth of July Parade in Coronado goes on and on with too many participants to mention!
A patriotic pooch.
A patriotic pooch.
Here comes the Marine Corps Band San Diego.
Here comes Marine Corps Band San Diego.
Military heroes march by on Independence Day.
Military based in San Diego march by on Independence Day.
Wounded Warriors get a big Welcome Home!
Wounded Warriors get a big Welcome Home!
A big American flag carried by many hands.
A gigantic American flag carried by many hands.
Smiles and many who are proud to live in the land of the free.
Smiles from many who are happy to live in the Land of the Free.
Here comes the Castle Park High School Trojan Brigade!
Here comes the Castle Park High School Trojan Brigade! They came up from Chula Vista.
As you might imagine,lots of cool cars were in the parade.
As you might imagine, lots of cool cars were in the parade.
Kids wave to the crowd.
A driver touches hands with the crowd as kids wave.
I think I see Maverick of Top Gun in that cockpit! No, it's actually a friendly young Tom Cruise look-alike who I've seen posing for photos by the USS Midway Museum.
I think I see Maverick of Top Gun in that cockpit! No, it’s actually a young Tom Cruise look-alike who sometimes poses for photos by the USS Midway Museum. I spoke to him once and he’s a super friendly cool guy.
The USS Midway Museum is always an important participant in San Diego's patriotic celebrations.
The USS Midway Museum is always an important participant in San Diego’s patriotic events.
During patriotic holidays, the Rotary Club of Coronado lines Orange Avenue's grassy median with American flags.
During patriotic holidays, the Rotary Club of Coronado lines Orange Avenue’s grassy median with American flags.
Here comes Honest Abe!
Look! Here comes Honest Abe!
I was getting hungry and hoped she'd accidentally flip a pancake my way.
I was getting hungry and hoped this lady might accidentally flip a pancake my way.
Guys in wheelchairs shoot hoops behind the Rotary float.
Guys in wheelchairs shoot hoops behind the Rotary float.
Another hero is celebrated. He represents The Distinguished Flying Cross Society.
Another hero is celebrated. He represents The Distinguished Flying Cross Society.
There were lots of parade participants on horseback.
There were lots of parade participants on horseback.
Another American Veteran is saluted. I saw many members of The Greatest Generation being thanked for their service long ago.
Another American veteran is saluted. I saw many members of The Greatest Generation being thanked for their service long ago.
More pageantry, another marching band.
More pageantry, another marching band.
Members of the United States Navy march past.
Members of the United States Navy march past.
A flag held high greets passing musicians.
A flag held high greets passing musicians.
A beauty queen smiles and waves.
A beauty queen, seeing my camera, smiles and waves!
People watch the big parade from a building on Orange Avenue.
People watch the big parade from a building on Orange Avenue.
Flags everywhere.
Flags everywhere.

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