Military heroes on VFW 2422 Memorial Wall.

The Memorial Wall beside VFW Post 2422 in Coronado, California.
The Memorial Wall beside VFW Post 2422 in Coronado, California.

You can’t miss it. A proud Memorial Wall. You’ll see it near the front door of the General Henry D. Styer Post 2422 Veterans of Foreign Wars in Coronado. Tiles contain the names of heroes who served their country with honor.

Here are some photos.

Tiles on the outdoor Memorial Wall remember those who have served in the United States Armed Forces.
Tiles on the outdoor Memorial Wall remember those who have served in the United States Armed Forces.
Front of the General Henry D. Styer Post 2422 Veterans of Foreign Wars in Coronado.
Front of the General Henry D. Styer Post 2422 Veterans of Foreign Wars in Coronado.
Plaque on bench reads Dedicated to All Who Have Served or Are Serving in Support of Our Country's Freedom.
Plaque on nearby bench reads Dedicated to All Who Have Served or Are Serving in Support of Our Country’s Freedom.
Plaque at base of flagpole reads In Honor of the Coronado Men and Women Who Served in the Armed Forces in World War II.
Plaque at base of flagpole reads In Honor of the Coronado Men and Women Who Served in the Armed Forces in World War II.
Names on the Memorial Wall include United States Navy Vice Admiral James B. Stockdale.
Names on the Memorial Wall include United States Navy Vice Admiral James B. Stockdale.
Painted on three small stones are words of Thank You for the service of heroes.
Painted on three small stones are words of Thank You for the service of heroes.

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Boy Scouts improve Bennington Memorial Oak Grove.

Crew members of USS Theodore Roosevelt help Boy Scout Maxwell Thomson move logs in the USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove. Photo courtesy Kathleen Winchester.
Crew members of USS Theodore Roosevelt help Boy Scout Maxwell Thomson move logs in the USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove. Photo courtesy Kathleen Winchester.

Over the past year and a half, some amazing young men have been working to improve the USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove in Balboa Park. These community-minded Boy Scouts, with the help of the San Diego Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, have undertaken projects in the historic grove in order to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout.

You might remember the photos that I posted of the USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove. It’s tucked away in a corner of Florida Canyon, not far from Naval Medical Center San Diego and the Balboa Park Municipal Golf Course. The 66 live oak trees were planted in 1905 to memorialize 66 sailors killed on the USS Bennington on July 21st of that year. The gunboat’s boiler exploded while it was in San Diego Bay, and many men tragically perished.

The efforts of these hardworking Boy Scouts have added beauty, safety and memory to the old oak grove. Four have successfully become Eagle Scouts. They are Joshua Ortega, Sam Kinsey, Frederick Persons and Erik Ortlieb. The projects of two other young men are now underway.

Most of these photographs have been contributed by local historian Kathleen Winchester. She and other members of the DAR’s San Diego Chapter have been instrumental in providing coordination and encouragement as the USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove is improved. Please read the photo captions to appreciate the unselfish work of these young men.

I have learned the grove’s kiosk will eventually contain the names of those who perished aboard the USS Bennington. And very soon a flagpole will be raised in the grove-the project of another Boy Scout.

In 2014, the San Diego Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution partnered with the San Diego Park and Recreation Department and the Friends of Balboa Park as part of the latter’s “Adopt-A-Plot” program and adopted the Bennington Memorial Oak Grove.

The local DAR intends to purchase more oak trees to replace dead ones. If anyone wants to help with this worthy endeavor, contact the San Diego Chapter of DAR. All contributed funds will go straight to the purchase of trees.

As you can see in a few of the photos, U.S. Navy sailors from the San Diego homeported aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt have also lent a hand. Their involvement is especially meaningful as Teddy Roosevelt was the President of the United States in 1905 when the USS Bennington disaster occured. President Roosevelt was a conservationist who would have loved this shady grove of majestic oaks.

The sailors from the USS Theodore Roosevelt, by helping to beautify the USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove, honored their fellow seamen from an earlier time.

The USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove in Balboa Park has been improved by some amazing young men working to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout.
The USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove in Balboa Park has been improved by some amazing young men working to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. Photo courtesy Kathleen Winchester.
The oak grove's entrance sign is an Eagle Project undertaken by Erik Ortlieb of Boy Scout Troop 4 in La Jolla.
The oak grove’s entrance sign is an Eagle Project undertaken by Erik Ortlieb of Boy Scout Troop 4 in La Jolla.
Erik Ortlieb poses with Kathleen Winchester of the DAR by the sign he built on October 16, 2016. It welcomes visitors into the beautiful old oak grove.
Erik Ortlieb poses with Kathleen Winchester of the DAR by a post of the wooden sign he built on October 16, 2016. The sign welcomes visitors into the beautiful old oak grove. Photo courtesy Kathleen Winchester.
Boy Scout Sam Kinsey works on the trail that leads into the historic USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove in Balboa Park.
Boy Scout Sam Kinsey works on the trail that leads into the historic USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove in Balboa Park. Photo courtesy Kathleen Winchester.
Boy Scout Joshua Ortega finished a footbridge in the grove just days before his 18th birthday. He is now attending Pepperdine University.
Boy Scout Joshua Ortega finished a footbridge in the grove just days before his 18th birthday. He is now attending Pepperdine University. Photo courtesy Kathleen Winchester.
Plaque on the bridge reads Eagle Scout Project - Joshua R. Ortega - Troop 299 - June 2016.
Plaque on the bridge reads Eagle Scout Project – Joshua R. Ortega – Troop 299 – June 2016.
Boy Scout Frederick Persons poses in front of the new kiosk he built. Around him are volunteers from Boy Scout Troop 295.
Boy Scout Frederick Persons poses in front of the new kiosk he built. Around him are volunteers from Boy Scout Troop 295. Photo courtesy Kathleen Winchester.
Crew members of San Diego aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt lend a helping hand by rolling logs that will border a path though the grove.
Crew members of San Diego aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt lend a helping hand by rolling logs that will border a path though the grove. Photo courtesy Kathleen Winchester.
Boy Scout Maxwell Thomson and U.S. Navy sailors roll logs into place in the USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove.
Boy Scout Maxwell Thomson and U.S. Navy sailors roll logs into place in the USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove. Photo courtesy Kathleen Winchester.
Maxwell Thomson poses with friends among logs which now mark the trail through the revitalized USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove!
Maxwell Thomson poses with friends among logs which now mark the trail through the USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove. Photo courtesy Kathleen Winchester.
15-year-old Maxwell Thomson takes a short break as DAR San Diego Chapter members cheer him on!
15-year-old Maxwell Thomson takes a short break as DAR San Diego Chapter members cheer him on! Photo courtesy Kathleen Winchester.

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!

Seven blog memories that might touch your heart.

Here are seven posts from Cool San Diego Sights that might touch your heart. The following links contain powerful memories. You’ll find sadness, joy, hope, and much inspiration…

9/11 Firefighter’s legacy: Two Sons and Stickball.

A heartwarming Christmas tradition in San Diego.

Art by creative homeless provides purpose, hope.

Combat veterans create art to bring hope.

Quotes from the Tony Gwynn public memorial.

Students interview veterans for USS Midway exhibit.

Gratitude expressed by random people in a 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!

Firefighter heroes in a drill downtown.

During my walk this morning through downtown San Diego I saw numerous firefighters and fire engines participating in a Sunday fire drill. It was a simulation of an emergency in a high-rise.

I thought you might enjoy a few photos of these true heroes in action!

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!

Sculpted faces of Greatest Generation at night.

A crew member of U.S.S. San Diego, representing all United States sailors who served their country during World War II.
Sculpted face of a crew member of the U.S.S. San Diego, representing all United States sailors who served their country during World War II.

Yesterday evening, after dark, I walked along the Embarcadero. When I arrived at the Greatest Generation Walk, I paused to gaze at the various illuminated memorials and monuments. I was struck at how light reflected from the bronze figures of military heroes, highlighting their expressive faces.

I took many photos of those faces. I kept my flash off. Some of the faces were insufficiently lit for my camera, but the photographs you see here, of mostly ordinary people courageously serving our country–primarily in World War II–came out quite well. I sharpened the images a bit, but that’s all.

The first photo was taken at the U.S.S. San Diego (CL-53) Memorial, created by artists Eugene Daub and Louis Quaintance.

The next seven photographs were taken at the National Salute to Bob Hope and the Military, created by artists Eugene Daub and Steven Whyte.

The next three photographs were taken at the Homecoming sculpture, created by artist Stanley Bleifeld.

The final two photographs were taken at the Aircraft Carrier Memorial, which was created by artists T.J. Dixon and James Nelson.

Bob Hope as he appeared in the 1940s, entertaining the troops on a USO tour.
Bob Hope as he appeared in the 1940s, entertaining the troops on a USO tour.
A World War II Marine Corps Sergeant depicted as a patient from the 44th Field Hospital.
A World War II Marine Corps Sergeant depicted as a patient from the 44th Field Hospital.
A World War II naval aviator.
A World War II naval aviator.
A Korean War sailor.
A Korean War sailor.
World War II Navy Machinist Mate John Ibe, who survived the loss of the USS St. Lo during the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
World War II Navy Machinist Mate John Ibe, who survived the loss of the USS St. Lo during the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
Korean War Private from the 45th Infantry Division.
Korean War Private from the 45th Infantry Division.
A World War II fighter pilot. One of the Tuskegee Airmen.
A World War II fighter pilot. One of the Tuskegee Airmen.
A sailor embraces his wife upon his return from a deployment far from home.
A sailor embraces his wife upon his return from a deployment far from home.
A supportive wife hugs her sailor husband.
A supportive wife hugs her sailor husband.
Love endures.
Love endures.
A sailor who serves aboard an aircraft carrier.
A sailor who serves aboard an aircraft carrier.
A naval aviator who flies from an aircraft carrier.
A naval aviator who flies from an aircraft carrier.

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 share and enjoy!

Photos of the San Diego Veterans Day Parade!

The military was honored in San Diego during the 2017 Veterans Day Parade along the Embarcadero.
Those who have served were honored in San Diego during the 2017 Veterans Day Parade along the Embarcadero.

Late this morning I walked down to the Embarcadero to enjoy the 2017 San Diego Veterans Day Parade. And I got dozens of photos!

An enthusiastic crowd lining Harbor Drive watched one of the largest Veterans Day parades in the United States. San Diego is home to a large number of active and retired military. And those who have served are honored.

Thank you for defending our freedom!

Someone hold a sign that reads Proud Of Our Veterans.
Someone hold a sign that reads Proud Of Our Veterans.
Before the parade, representatives of Naval Medical Center San Diego posed for pictures.
Before the parade, representatives of Naval Medical Center San Diego posed for pictures.
Participants in the parade practice in Waterfront Park near the County Administration Building.
Participants in the Veterans Day Parade practice in Waterfront Park near the County Administration Building.
The color guard awaits the start of the big parade down Harbor Drive.
The color guard awaits the start of the big parade down Harbor Drive.
Dave Scott of KUSI television fires up people waiting in the bleachers.
Dave Scott of KUSI television fires up people waiting in the bleachers.
Everybody is ready for a patriotic parade!
Everybody is ready for a patriotic parade!
Many would watch the parade from across Harbor Drive, near the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
Many would watch the parade from across Harbor Drive, near the Maritime Museum of San Diego. I spotted sailboats out on the bay.
Here we go!
Here we go!
The Marine Corps Band gets things rolling.
The Marine Corps Band gets things rolling.
Marching with pride during the Veterans Day Parade.
Marching with pride and precision during the Veterans Day Parade.
The parade heads down Harbor Drive, along San Diego's beautiful Embarcadero. The parade route continued to Seaport Village.
The parade heads down Harbor Drive, along San Diego’s beautiful Embarcadero. The parade route would finish near Seaport Village.
Here comes the Mount Miguel High School JROTC.
Here comes the Mount Miguel High School JROTC.
A simple heartfelt message. Welcome home to all our heroes.
A simple heartfelt message. Welcome home to all our heroes.
Pageantry and patriotism.
Pageantry and patriotism.
Beauty queens wave, representing the Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Lakeside.
Beauty queens wave. They represent the Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Lakeside.
Patrick Henry High School's colorful Spirit of '76 Marching Patriots pause on the parade route.
Patrick Henry High School’s colorful Spirit of ’76 Marching Patriots pause for a moment on the parade route.
Banners fly in the San Diego sunlight.
Banners begin to twirl in the San Diego sunlight.
The Patrick Henry High School marching band wows the crowd.
The Patrick Henry High School marching band wows the crowd.
Here comes the USS Midway Museum contingent.
Here comes the USS Midway Museum contingent.
The kids standing near me loved seeing the big inflatable USS Midway aircraft carrier.
The kids standing near me loved seeing the big inflatable USS Midway aircraft carrier.
And the fighter jet up in the blue sky, too!
And the fighter jet up in the blue sky, too!
San Diego High School's Army JROTC was in the Veterans Day Parade.
San Diego High School’s Army JROTC was in the Veterans Day Parade.
The Young Marines march by.
The Young Marines march by.
Flags raised high from the American Legion truck. They proudly support our Veterans.
Flags raised high from the American Legion truck. They proudly support our Veterans.
Many motorcyclists were also in the big parade.
Many motorcyclists were also in the parade.
Lots of smiles of gratitude from those watching.
Lots of smiles of gratitude from those watching.
This group was keeping the Spirit of '45 alive! Photos of servicemembers who fought in World War II are carried during the parade.
This group was keeping the Spirit of ’45 alive! Photos of servicemembers who fought in World War II are carried during the parade.
Parade participants included young and old alike.
Parade participants included young and old alike.
An All American San Diego Salute for our WWII Veteran Heroes.
An All American San Diego Salute for our WWII Veteran Heroes.
The Vietnam Veterans of America were an important part of the parade. They received loud cheers.
The Vietnam Veterans of America were an important part of the parade. They received loud cheers.
Is that a cool car, or what?
Is that a cool car, or what?
A flag held high.
A flag held high.
Here come the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
Here come the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
A POW MIA flag follows a group of honored Veterans.
A POW MIA flag follows a group of honored Veterans.
Wells Fargo had their stagecoach in the parade. They saluted heroes who serve.
Wells Fargo had their stagecoach in the parade. They salute heroes who serve.
Hundreds of active duty military based in San Diego now marched past. The crowd thanked every one of them.
Hundreds of active duty military personnel based in San Diego now marched past. The crowd thanked every one of them.
Those serving in military facilities and on Navy ships based in San Diego paraded past.
Those serving in military facilities and on Navy ships based in San Diego filed past.
The Monte Vista High School Monarch Royal Brigade marches by.
The parade goes on. The Monte Vista High School Monarch Royal Brigade marches by.
The San Diego County Veteran of the Year is recognized.
The San Diego County Veteran of the Year is recognized.
Member of the Distinguished Flying Cross Society passes in a classic car.
Member of the Distinguished Flying Cross Society passes in a classic car.
Kid holds a sign that reads Thank You For Your Service!!! Air Force - Army - Coast Guard - Marines - Navy
Kid holds a sign that reads Thank You For Your Service!!! Air Force – Army – Coast Guard – Marines – Navy
The San Diego Padres baseball team is a big supporter of the active military and all Veterans.
The San Diego Padres baseball team is a big supporter of the active military and all Veterans.
Heroes who've been assisted by the Veterans Village San Diego march past. Thank you for your service! Know that you are appreciated by many!
Heroes who’ve been assisted by the Veterans Village San Diego march past. Thank you for your service! Know that you are appreciated by many!
Here comes the Morse High School JROTC!
Here comes the Morse High School JROTC.
The Morse High School Tigers had a huge number of great participants in the Veterans Day Parade!
The Morse High School Tigers had a huge number of great participants in the Veterans Day Parade!
Meanwhile, lots of cool stuff was being handed out to those watching the parade.
Meanwhile, lots of cool stuff was being handed out to those watching the parade.
These friendly folks were handing out American flags.
These friendly folks were handing out American flags.
A reenactment of the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima was part of the parade.
A reenactment of the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima was part of the parade.
Here comes the Korean Veterans Association.
Here comes the Korean Veterans Association.
Smiles up and down the parade route.
Smiles up and down the parade route.
Recipients of the Purple Heart. Honoring America's combat wounded Veterans.
Here come recipients of the Purple Heart. Honoring America’s combat wounded Veterans.
It's the fun Squibob Fire Department!
It’s the fun Squibob Fire Department!
The San Diego Diocese Chapter of Knights of Columbus marches past.
The San Diego Diocese Chapter of Knights of Columbus marches past.
The 2017 Veterans Day Parade in San Diego brought pageantry and patriotism to the waterfront.
The 2017 Veterans Day Parade in San Diego today brought many smiles to the waterfront.

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 share and enjoy!

9/11 Firefighter’s legacy: Two Sons and Stickball.

Tampa Chargers huddle up during the 2017 Labor Day Stickball Tournament in Little Italy. Photo by Margie Jones.
Tampa Chargers huddle up during the 2017 Labor Day Stickball Tournament in Little Italy. Photo by Margie Jones.

An important event in San Diego history took place over the Labor Day weekend. It involved a firefighter hero who saved lives during 9/11, his two sons, and the game of stickball.

The following inspirational article is contributed by Margie Jones of 4 Heroes 4 Life:

The 2017 Labor Day Stickball Tournament in Little Italy was one of the largest in its 19 year history with a field of 16 teams, four from New York and one from Tampa Bay, Florida. New York transplant Bob Ortiz and a group of players brought the Bronx-style tradition of street baseball to California in the early 1990s, later passing the torch to brothers Louie and Joey Centanni.

This year’s tournament held a special meaning for the San Diego and New York stickball communities, bringing the return of Skylar and Austin Mercado, sons of former Emperor’s Stickball League President Steve Mercado. Mercado and his family brought the team to San Diego from the Bronx in 2001 when the boys were 6 and 2 years old. The Mercado family made a lasting impression on many San Diegans, including SD City Firefighter and Stickball League Commissioner Willie Blas and Fire Marshal Mark George. After saying their goodbyes, Steve returned to NYC and went straight to work on 9/11, courageously saving lives. He was one of 12 of 13 from Engine 40 and Ladder 35 to lose their lives on that day, along with over 400 NYC first responders.

This weekend, Skylar and Austin Mercado brought the legacy of their Dad and Grandfather to Stickball in San Diego. Their team, the Tampa Chargers, was undefeated going into the Championship Game on Monday but could not best the local Sultans of Swat, who took home the trophy this year. We hope the Mercados experienced the outpouring of love and support for these two fine young men, their family, and the entire NYC community of heroes.

So that Steve and all heroes on that day will be NEVER FORGOTTEN, Mark and Willie as sponsored by 4 Heroes 4 Life and Veteran Adventures will be hosting a 9/11 NEVER FORGOTTEN Charity Golf Tournament and Community Extravaganza on September 11. Proceeds of the event will benefit the Steven Mercado Foundation, and funds for Engine 40 and Ladder 35, and the NYC Emergency Fund. This is the first of an annual event on 9/11 as an opportunity to bring community together in support of our fallen heroes and for our nation’s healing. Please join us. Register or donate here.

Commemorative bat honoring 9/11 firefighter Steve Mercado. Photo by Margie Jones.
Commemorative bat honoring 9/11 firefighter Steve Mercado. Photo by Margie Jones.
Tampa Chargers' Austin Mercado. Photo by Margie Jones.
Tampa Chargers’ Austin Mercado. Photo by Margie Jones.
Tampa Chargers' Skylar Mercado. Photo by Margie Jones.
Tampa Chargers’ Skylar Mercado. Photo by Margie Jones.
Power hitting. Photo by Margie Jones.
Swinging with heart on a San Diego street. Photo by Margie Jones.
2017 Championship Game final score. Photo by Margie Jones.
2017 Championship Game final score. Photo by Margie Jones.
Stickball family. Photo by Margie Jones.
Stickball brings many together. Photo by Margie Jones.