Sister cities observed at Oceanside Civic Center.

Curious eyes can make many interesting discoveries during a walk around the Oceanside Civic Center.

The last time I visited the beautiful Civic Center, I happened to notice a sign and a plaque that honor two of Oceanside’s sister cities: Pago Pago, American Samoa, and Fuji, Japan.

It might seem odd that Pago Pago maintains a close relationship with a city in Southern California, but Oceanside boasts one of the largest Samoan populations in the United States. Why? American Samoa has the highest rate of military enlistment of any U.S. state or territory. A large number of Marine Corps recruits are subsequently based at Camp Pendleton, Oceanside’s military neighbor.

Fuji, Japan has one sister city: Oceanside. The relationship was established in 1991. Fuji is located at the foot of tall, scenic Mount Fuji, one of Japan’s Three Holy Mountains.

I’ve learned that Oceanside has two additional sister cities: Ensenada, Mexico and Kisarazu, Japan.

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!

Historical marker at UC San Diego.

On the campus of UC San Diego in La Jolla, an historical marker stands on a patch of grass among some trees.

A bronze plaque embedded in a boulder explains how, for half a century, this area was the site of Camp Calvin B. Matthews, of the United States Marine Corps.

The bronze plaque is located south of the Price Center and Triton Fountain, in UCSD Town Square.

THE UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS

OCCUPIED THIS SITE KNOWN AS

CAMP CALVIN B. MATTHEWS

FROM 1917 TO 1964, OVER A MILLION MARINES AND OTHER SHOOTERS RECEIVED THEIR RIFLE MARKSMANSHIP TRAINING HERE. THIS SITE WAS DEEDED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA AT SAN DIEGO ON 6 OCTOBER, 1964 FOR THE PURSUIT OF HIGHER EDUCATION.

Prior to World War II, the military base was simply called Marine Corps Rifle Range, La Jolla.

To learn more about the history of Camp Calvin B. Matthews, you can check out a Wikipedia entry concerning it here.

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Military Tribute at Civita in Mission Valley.

Protecting our Freedom.

Four years ago, Military Tribute Plaza was dedicated at Civita in Mission Valley.

This monument, saluting the United States Armed Services, features flags above black marble columns. Bronze plaques recall the history of each military branch in San Diego. Veterans are also honored.

I took these photographs a few weeks ago when I enjoyed a walk through the large Civita residential community. I thought now would be a good time to post them, because Veterans Day has arrived.

In Memory of The Five Grant Brothers Who Honorably Served Their Country During World War II.
SAN DIEGO’S COAST GUARD. One of the predecessors of the modern Coast Guard traces it presence in San Diego to the opening of the Point Loma Lighthouse in 1855…
SAN DIEGO’S AIR FORCE. Originally part of the U.S. Army, the Air Force took shape with military aviation at Rockwell Field at North Island, beginning in 1912…
Lt. Col. Ronald Grant, USAFR.
Lt. Tom (Suds) Sudberry.
SAN DIEGO’S NAVY. San Diego’s development owes much to the Navy, starting with the visit of the Great White Fleet of 16 battleships in 1908…
SAN DIEGO’S MARINE CORPS. Beginning in 1914, strife in Mexico created a continuing presence in San Diego for the U.S. Marine Corps…
SAN DIEGO’S ARMY. The U.S. Army was naturally in the forefront of San Diego’s American beginnings…

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!

Photos of Veterans Park in Poway.

Beneath the flags of Veterans Park, located across Midland Road from Old Poway Park, those who have served in the United States military are honored and remembered.

I visited Veterans Park during my most recent walk in Poway. I found many tributes to those who sacrificed.

I saw plaques, engraved bricks in a Wall of Honor, and small monuments filled with memory.

There’s a bronze Battlefield Cross and a large Meneely Bell.

Six stations near the center of the Veterans Park circle feature artwork and audio recordings. The history of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine is told.

There’s a cannon, an anchor, and other artifacts from war, and words of pain, and courage, and gratitude for freedom. And many names.

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!

A very short, easy hike at East Fortuna.

Yesterday, as part of a much longer walk in urban Santee, I enjoyed a very short, easy hike in the northeast corner of 7,220-acre Mission Trails Regional Park.

I started at the East Fortuna Staging Area and proceeded from the Equestrian Circle Trailhead west a quarter mile or so, just to enjoy the beautiful natural scenery.

Imagine my surprise when I quickly spotted a roadrunner!

The City of San Diego’s wild, rugged Mission Trails area, during World War II, was used to train members of the 2nd Marine Division. Camp Elliott is where they learned to fire artillery and operate tanks. According to the above sign posted near the trailhead: “At the height of the war, 50,000 officers and men were dispatched to combat zones from Camp Elliott in a little over a year.”

The canyons, mountains and grasslands of Mission Trails are now home to abundant wildlife and natural beauty.

Trees in the distance line the San Diego River where its life giving water flows through the park.

Some bright California bush sunflowers near the trail…

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!

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.

Letters Home: A fallen soldier and a memorial.

I’ve photographed many monuments that remember those who’ve fallen in war.

At the Veterans Memorial in Vista, California, the powerful monument to one particular soldier can easily bring you to tears.

Please look at the following images, read the two random letters that I photographed leading to the sculpture, then the plaque that describes the life and death of a young person who simply wanted to serve. Click those photos and they will enlarge for easier reading.

Veterans Memorial Park was created by the Pinamonti family to honor Ernie, son and brother, who was killed in the Vietnam War.

Sculpture at Veterans Memorial, by artist Rip Caswell, 2016.
Sculpture at Veterans Memorial, by artist Rip Caswell, 2016.

Dear Family, Today we are starting our first day of training...Mail call is the best part of the day and I really look forward to it...I miss everyone a great deal and I read the letters over and over. Sincerely, Ernie
Dear Family, Today we are starting our first day of training…Mail call is the best part of the day and I really look forward to it…I miss everyone a great deal and I read the letters over and over. Sincerely, Ernie

Dear Ernie...If there is anything you need, just ask and we will send it to you...Remember to write every couple days so I don't worry about you. Be good and take care of yourself. I miss you. Love, Mother
Dear Ernie…If there is anything you need, just ask and we will send it to you…Remember to write every couple days so I don’t worry about you. Be good and take care of yourself. I miss you. Love, Mother

Flag flies above Veterans Memorial Park in Vista, California.
Flag flies above Veterans Memorial Park in Vista, California.

On May 15, 1969, our family was forever changed by the knock on the front door that brought news that our 19 year old brother, Ernie, had died of wounds received while assisting a fellow soldier...
On May 15, 1969, our family was forever changed by the knock on the front door that brought news that our 19 year old brother, Ernie, had died of wounds received while assisting a fellow soldier…

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 photographs.

Create a virtual tribute to a deceased Veteran.

After the Memorial Day ceremony, some people linger to view the ceremonial wreaths. The plaque behind the rostrum contains President Lincoln's famed Gettysburg Address.

Are you a relative or friend of a deceased military Veteran? Are you grateful to someone who served in the United States Armed Forces who is no longer with us?

On this Memorial Day–or on any day–you can create a virtual tribute to those who chose to protect our nation and our freedom.

The online Veterans Legacy Memorial (VLM) now allows visitors to leave a comment on a Veteran’s memorial page.

According to the Veterans Legacy Memorial website, which is an extension of the National Cemetery Administration: “NCA manages more than 140 national cemeteries as shrine spaces to honor our Nation’s Veterans, and extends memorialization of the 3.7 million Veterans interred in those cemeteries to this digital memorial space by providing a VLM profile page for each Veteran.”

If you would like to create a virtual tribute to a deserving hero, a digital tribute that might endure forever, click here.

A live stream event celebrating Memorial Day.

Love and respect are shown for those in the military who pledged to protect their countrymen, and defend freedom. They are honored on Memorial Day.
Love and respect are shown for those in the military who pledged to protect their countrymen, and defend freedom. They are honored on Memorial Day.

This coming Memorial Day will be very different. The coronavirus pandemic has caused public events around San Diego to be cancelled.

But I’ve learned there will be a live stream over the internet that celebrates Memorial Day this year, and the virtual event will feature four locations: the USS Midway Museum, Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetery, Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial, and Miramar National Cemetery. Those who perished serving in the United States Armed Forces will be honored and remembered.

If you’d like to learn more, or view the live stream online this Memorial Day starting at 9 am click here!

Faces tell stories at Veterans Day parade.

A big parade for Veterans Day this morning in San Diego.

Many different faces, young and old, moving forward together down Harbor Drive. Each face telling a story.

The story of a life filled with pride, courage, honor, sacrifice and friendship.

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!