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…

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Monuments to freedom by Escondido City Hall.

Several plaques and monuments honoring military veterans can be found around Grape Day Park in Escondido. One tribute, the Wall of Courage, I previously photographed here.

At the east end of the park, between Broadway and Escondido’s City Hall, two marble monuments stand together in the shade of trees.

The four sides of an obelisk display the United States Constitution’s first Ten Amendments, the Bill of Rights, which guarantees our individual rights and liberty. According to a plaque at its base, the obelisk was presented by the Escondido Rotary Club to the City of Escondido on July 4, 1976, during our nation’s Bicentennial.

The second monument honors all veterans who serve to defend that freedom. The memorial was dedicated twenty years later, in 1996 on Veterans Day.

It reads: The eternal gratitude of the citizens of Escondido and the nation is extended to every man and woman, living or dead, who wore the uniform of our military services with honor past, present and future.

A flag flies above both.

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!

Memories of past Veterans Days in San Diego.

I would like to express my appreciation to all Veterans who have served to defend our Freedom.

Thank you.

I don’t believe there were many Veterans Day events around San Diego this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic situation. So I thought it might be a good idea to link to a few old blog posts that feature photographs from past years.

You will see men and women who made sacrifices for you and me.

To see photographs from past Veterans Day events in San Diego, click the following links:

Historical reenactment on Veterans Day in Balboa Park.

Bells of Peace ring on a special Veterans Day!

Faces tell stories at Veterans Day parade.

Photos of the San Diego Veterans Day Parade!

Veteran’s Day celebrated in Balboa Park.

If you’d like to create a virtual tribute to a Veteran who is deceased, you can learn how to do so here.

Justice League heroes wear face masks!

I noticed a cool graphic on the side of an AT&T truck parked downtown. DC Comic’s powerful Justice League superheroes are all wearing face masks!

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Green Lantern, Cyborg, Flash and Aquaman want you to be a hero!

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!

Kobe Bryant tribute mural in Normal Heights.

An amazing mural honoring and remembering Lakers basketball legend Kobe Bryant, who passed away in a tragic airplane crash early this year, was painted this summer in Normal Heights. Today I walked down Adams Avenue and snapped a couple photos.

The purple and gold mural can be found on the east wall of El Zarape Mexican Cantina, next to a tiny parking lot, directly opposite a great Prince mural I photographed three years ago here.

I believe this Kobe tribute artwork was produced by graffiti artists Shark and Hasler.

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!

Firefighters descend pole outside fire station!

Yesterday I observed two firefighters sliding down a fire pole outside San Diego Fire-Rescue Station 44 in Mira Mesa.

Yes, I said outside!

Strangely, the two rapidly descending firefighters never reached the ground. Why? Because they’re life-size bronze figures and part of an extremely cool sculpture titled Firefighters at 44.

Firefighters at 44 debuted at the new fire station back in 2002. The monumental sculpture was created by artists T.J. Dixon and James Nelson, whose work can be enjoyed all over San Diego.

(You can see more of their amazing sculptures by checking out certain old blog posts. To do that, 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!

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!

Huge bell at The Big House fire station!

Have you ever walked or driven past Fire Station 1 near the center of downtown San Diego and seen a gigantic bell out front? Have you wondered about it?

A few days ago I walked down the sidewalk past “The Big House” fire station and paused to snap some photos!

Words on the bell read:

W.T.GARRATT & Co SF CAL 1885
PRESENTED TO
SAN DIEGO ENGINE CO NO 1
BY BRYANT HOWARD
SAN DIEGO

A plaque above the huge bell reads:

THIS BELL WAS PRESENTED TO THE SAN DIEGO FIRE DEPT. ENGINE COMPANY NO. 1. IT WAS CAST IN SAN FRANCISCO IN 1885 AND HUNG IN A 50 FOOT TOWER ON FIFTH AVENUE, BETWEEN BROADWAY AND C STREET, WHERE JESSOPS JEWELRY STORE NOW STANDS.

(Jessops moved from that location many, many years ago.)

According to the City of San Diego website: Fire Station 1 was originally opened at 865 Second Avenue in 1904. That station was closed and relocated to the current building (at 1222 First Avenue) in January 1971.

I’d love to hear that bell ring! (Without a fire, of course.)

Thank you to all firefighter heroes!

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!

Unsung hero is a bright light in City Heights!

Volunteers for a community clean-up gather in City Heights for the Global Day of Caring.
Volunteers for a community clean-up gather in City Heights for the Global Day of Caring.

I’m honored to know an unsung hero in City Heights. Carlos Quezada, co-founder of Love City Heights, has been named by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez an Unsung Hero for the 80th Assembly District!

Carlos has been working diligently for years to celebrate and revitalize the diverse east San Diego neighborhood of City Heights. He’s the driving force behind the “drive-through art gallery” on University Avenue between I-805 and I-15 that I’ve blogged about for a couple of years now.

Carlos has brought many great artists and muralists together with school students and community businesses and organizations to paint a picture in City Heights of a bright now and even brighter future. It’s amazing how one positive, energetic person can have a tremendous impact on their community!

And you know what true unselfishness is? I was going to take Carlos’ photo once and he modestly rebuffed my attempt. The only photograph of Carlos that I’ve posted until now is the one you see above. See the guy in the very back wearing a Love City Heights T-shirt? That’s him!

Congratulations to Carlos Quezada!

Yet another mural is being painted today, and I’m about to head out my door to see it!

UPDATE!

I finally got a photo of Carlos! That’s him on the left. To the right is Melody De Los Cobos, the Artistic Director of Love City Heights. She’s a super cool artist who is well known in the local arts community!

Carlos Quezada and Melody De Los Cobos of Love City Heights.
Carlos Quezada and Melody De Los Cobos of Love City Heights.

Tony Gwynn street art in East Village!

San Diego Padres hero Tony Gwynn, painted as street art not far from Petco Park.
San Diego Padres hero Tony Gwynn. This fantastic street art is not far from Petco Park.

San Diego loves Tony Gwynn. Look at his face as depicted in this recently painted street art and you can sense why. It’s all in his smile. He was a friend to everybody. He was simply a great human being.

And, of course, Mr. Padre was one of the best Major League Baseball hitters of all time!

I spotted this amazing electrical box today while walking near the intersection of Park Boulevard and Market Street in East Village. It stands near another box painted with legendary musicians. I shared those photographs in my previous blog post.

The artist’s signature is identical on both boxes, but I’m not a hundred percent sure who it might be. If you know, leave a comment!

Remember these two things--play hard and have fun. Tony Gwynn.
Remember these two things–play hard and have fun. Tony Gwynn.

If you work hard, good things will happen. Tony Gwynn.
If you work hard, good things will happen. Tony Gwynn.

The smiling face of Tony Gwynn, a Hall of Fame baseball legend.
The smiling face of Tony Gwynn, a Hall of Fame baseball legend.

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!

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!