Honoring victims, heroes of USS Bennington disaster.

Today I walked through the historic Bennington Memorial Oak Grove in Balboa Park. It’s my first visit to the grove of live oaks since December of 2017, when I observed Boy Scouts and volunteers working to improve the living memorial.

During my walk today, not only was I pleased to see the quiet oak grove was as peaceful and beautiful as ever, but I noted some information has been posted in the kiosk. I took a photograph so you might read it. Click my photo of the sign and the image will expand for easy reading. (Unfortunately, you’ll note the clear plastic protecting the sign was broken by vandals. But thankfully I saw absolutely no litter, graffiti or other signs of disturbance.)

You might notice the sign also features a QR code that opens a dedicated memorial website. To learn much, much more about the Bennington Memorial Oak Grove, please visit BenningtonMemorial.com.

The memorial website honors the lives of the 66 U.S. Navy sailors who tragically died when the USS Bennington’s boiler exploded in San Diego Bay on July 21, 1905. A separate page of the website is dedicated to each victim. You’ll also learn about the 11 courageous men who each earned a Medal of Honor for their heroism that day.

To see inspirational photos from a year and a half ago, when Boy Scouts and crew members of the San Diego-based aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt were working to improve the Bennington Memorial, click here and here. For many of those photos, I am grateful to the San Diego Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution, and historian Kathleen Winchester in particular.

Now please enjoy the following pics taken today by the kiosk, and along the shady footpath that winds through the Bennington Memorial Oak Grove.

Sign at the Bennington Memorial Oak Grove describes one of the Navy's worst peacetime disasters, which took place in 1905 on San Diego Bay. Sixty six live oaks were planted to honor the victims of the USS Bennington boiler explosion.
Sign in kiosk at the Bennington Memorial Oak Grove describes one of the Navy’s worst peacetime disasters, which took place in 1905 on San Diego Bay. Sixty six live oaks were planted in Balboa Park to honor the victims of the USS Bennington boiler explosion.

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!

Amazing vistas atop Mount Soledad.

This morning I drove to Mount Soledad. A new winter storm is on the way, and the clouds are more dramatic than usual.

Breathtaking vistas open up at the summit of Mount Soledad. Standing beside the cross of Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial, I turned slowly about and took it all in.

To the north: La Jolla, Del Mar and the Pacific Ocean. To the northeast: University City. To the east and southeast: the distant foothills and mountains of East County. To the hazy south: tiny downtown, Mission Bay and Point Loma.

In every direction: amazing beauty!

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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!

Sunrise at Balboa Park’s Desert Garden.

This morning I spent a few minutes in Balboa Park’s Desert Garden, enjoying a beautiful sunrise.

I had hoped to take photos of new snow on the mountains east of San Diego, but they were too distant for my small camera. What I did discover as I walked down one path was completely unexpected, and indescribably powerful…

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!

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!

Remembering loved ones on Day of the Dead.

Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, returns this coming Wednesday, October 31. Many in San Diego will observe the Mexican holiday, a festive span of three days that coincides with All Saints’ Eve, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.

Day of the Dead is woven with long-lived traditions respecting human love and loss. Families build small altars, create powerful images. It is a time when loved ones who have passed on are prayed for, remembered and blessed.

Over the years, I’ve experienced several memorable Day of the Dead events in San Diego.

Here are three Day of the Dead blog posts from past years. Click the links to enjoy a variety of colorful photographs…

Love and memory: Old Town’s Dia de los Muertos.

Alive in memory: one Dia de los Muertos altar.

Day of the Dead celebration at the Old Globe.

Day of the Dead will be celebrated again this year in Old Town. If you’d like to experience this amazing event, please refer to the following flyer:

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Inspirational photos of Memorial Day.

I had all sorts of plans for this Memorial Day weekend. But I’ve decided to rest and write. Three uninterrupted days of writing. In a quiet place.

I’ve blogged about local Memorial Day events in past years. If you’d like to see many inspirational photographs, click the following links:

Photos of Memorial Day at Mount Hope Cemetery–remembering those who perished in the Civil War.

Memorial Day at The Veterans Museum in Balboa Park–remembering those who died in the Vietnam War.

Photos of Memorial Day ceremony at Fort Rosecrans–sloping fields of flags and roses.

World War II vets honored on USS Midway–remembering the Greatest Generation.

Loving bench plaques near Coronado’s City Hall.

Plaque on a bench. In loving memory of Linda Sanford Fleming our Coronado Queen. July 4, 1938 - May 6, 2005. From her devoted family and friends.
Plaque on a bench. In loving memory of Linda Sanford Fleming our Coronado Queen. July 4, 1938 – May 6, 2005. From her devoted family and friends.

During my walk last Saturday I rested for a bit on a bench near Coronado’s City Hall. After looking about the beautiful place, I noticed most of the nearby benches featured memorial plaques. I read a few and was touched by words of love and optimism.

Perhaps you’d enjoy seeing a few of these plaques…

A few beautiful paths near Coronado's City Hall feature benches where one can rest and enjoy the day's sunshine.
A few tranquil paths near Coronado’s City Hall feature benches where one can rest and enjoy the day’s sunshine.
A plaque on another bench. In loving memory - Clarence and Mary Muirhead - 65 year Coronado residents fondly remembered by their family.
A plaque on another bench. In loving memory – Clarence and Mary Muirhead – 65 year Coronado residents fondly remembered by their family.
Bicyclist rides past City of Coronado City Hall, next to San Diego Bay.
Bicyclist rides past City of Coronado City Hall, next to San Diego Bay. Coronado Shores buildings, near the Pacific Ocean, rise in the background.
In memory of June Lenz, founder of Crown Garden Club, whose legacy was to encourage the love of flowers and the beautification of Coronado.
In memory of June Lenz, founder of Crown Garden Club, whose legacy was to encourage the love of flowers and the beautification of Coronado.
In honor of Sue and Bill Williams. Look at the sunny side and make your optimism come true.
In honor of Sue and Bill Williams. Look at the sunny side and make your optimism come true.
More benches by the bay offer a view of boats in the nearby Glorietta Bay Marina.
More benches offer a view of boats in the nearby Glorietta Bay Marina.
In memory of Kathy Griffin, beloved daughter and sister. July 25, 1959 - July 28, 2006. What we have lost Heaven has gained. Love family and friends.
In memory of Kathy Griffin, beloved daughter and sister. July 25, 1959 – July 28, 2006. What we have lost Heaven has gained. Love family and friends.
In loving memory of Lloyd McKinley Harmon. August 1, 1891 - September 16, 1968. Mayor of Coronado in 1952 and 1953 ... and Olive Genevieve Harmon. July 4, 1907 - April 3, 2005.
In loving memory of Lloyd McKinley Harmon. August 1, 1891 – September 16, 1968. Mayor of Coronado in 1952 and 1953 … and Olive Genevieve Harmon. July 4, 1907 – April 3, 2005. Absent but Dear.
A sailboat out on the wide blue water.
A sailboat out on the wide blue water.
Ensign Van Andrew Wilson, U.S. Navy SEAL. September 3, 1982 - January 26, 2006. His training was finished here. He achieved his goal. The greatest mission lies ahead.
Ensign Van Andrew Wilson, U.S. Navy SEAL. September 3, 1982 – January 26, 2006. His training was finished here. He achieved his goal. The greatest mission lies ahead.

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!