Public art painted from dark, painful experience.

Smears of red, a flag, two faces.
Smears of red, a flag, two faces.

There are three new works of art on display in the breezeway between the downtown Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and the Santa Fe Depot. These pieces concern disturbing emotions felt by combat veterans, and the ongoing battle of many with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

I believe–but I’m not certain–that the art you see in these photos was produced by military personnel who participate in the museum’s ArtOASIS program. ArtOASIS was created for PTSD patients in conjunction with Combat Arts, a local organization that provides opportunities for combat troops to express themselves.

These images are raw and painful. They are brutally honest. To paint these dark, secret things requires great personal courage.

Someone walks through the breezeway between MCASD and Santa Fe Depot in downtown San Diego.
Someone walks through the breezeway between MCASD and Santa Fe Depot in downtown San Diego.
PTSD. What happens when you get home and realize you will never be this awesome again. Long is the way and hard, that out of Hell leads up to the Light.
PTSD. What happens when you get home and realize you will never be this awesome again. Long is the way and hard, that out of Hell leads up to the light.
A lone figure lies against the wall of Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.
A lone figure lies against the wall of Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.
REAL TALK. Life.
REAL TALK. Life.

I live in downtown San Diego, and walk through the city 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!

Support Veterans Village with a brick or paver.

Order a Veterans Village courtyard brick or paver and help Veterans who have been homeless, or at the risk of homelessness. Provide hope, love, compassion and understanding.
Order a Veterans Village courtyard brick or paver and help Veterans who are homeless, or at the risk of homelessness. Your donation provides real hope. The words you choose radiate compassion and understanding.

Veterans Village of San Diego provides a helping hand to those Veterans in our city who are homeless or at the risk of homelessness. This critically important organization provide housing, rehabilitation, education, job training and a safe place to regain hope and a sense of belonging.

Veterans Village also organizes the annual Stand Down, where homeless Veterans can receive a smile, a handshake, breakfast, clothing, showers, a hair cut, makeovers, plus free medical, dental and vision services. At Stand Down homeless Vets can also access court services, VA benefit and job counseling, and much more.

You can support the mission of Veterans Village by putting a special message on a brick or paver in their beautiful courtyard location. Messages of support, compassion and love will be read by many who might need a little inspiration. Your generosity makes the world better.

To learn more about Veterans Village, or if you have a question about purchasing a brick or paver, click here!

Are you a blogger? Do you want to help make the world a better place? You might want to join Bloggers Lifting Others Generously.

How to get support from fellow Veterans in San Diego.

I discovered a program in San Diego that provides advice and support for Veterans. It’s a confidential peer-to-peer program, where Veteran volunteers mentor other Veterans. The program is called “Vet to Vet” for that reason.

I found out about this program while walking randomly around Balboa Park. A notice was pinned to a bulletin board and I took a photo. According to the information, the meetings of Vet to Vet are confidential and no appointment is needed. It’s a safe place to be for a couple hours a week. All the info you need is right here–click the photo and it will enlarge:

Click this photo and it will expand for easy reading. You'll find information on meeting places and some phone numbers.
Click this photo and it will expand in size for easy reading. You’ll find important information on meeting places and a few phone numbers.

If you’re a Vet who’d like to volunteer, or if you’re a Vet who’d like a little support or someone to talk to, or you’re just curious and want to learn more, give that phone number on the flyer a call! And if you know a Veteran in San Diego who might appreciate a helping hand from someone who has walked in their shoes, why not pass along the info?

Are you a blogger? Do you want to help make the world a better place? You might want to join Bloggers Lifting Others Generously.

Photos of America’s best Fourth of July parade!

Many say the best Fourth of July parade in America takes place every year in Coronado. Thousands of spectators line Orange Avenue and watch a glorious two hour parade that stretches from one side of the island to the other.

This year I managed to take a bunch of good photos. You can get a flavor of the patriotism and the appreciation our community has for those who serve in the military. Coronado, of course, is home to many Navy SEALs and a Naval Air Station, including two active aircraft carriers. And San Diego is home to most of the Pacific Fleet and a large number of Marines. Over the years, many veterans have also settled down in our fair city.

I saw many smiling families and much love of country on this Independence Day. These photos (except for the one above) are in chronological sequence. First we see a crowd gathering along the parade route…

The Star-Spangled Banner was sung before the parade commenced. Hats came off, and some saluted.

The kids were drawing poop circles. If a horse makes a deposit inside your circle, you win!

Here we go!

These guys, under the direction of a Drill Instructor, periodically reenacted Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima during the parade.

A wounded warrior received a Thank You and loud cheers.

People crossed Orange Avenue during breaks in the parade.

Those guys in the classic cars are Pearl Harbor survivors.

There were some guys engaged in Star Wars cosplay at this point during the parade. Check my previous blog post to see photos of that!

That’s just a taste of what is arguably the best Fourth of July parade in America!

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 fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

Combat veterans create art to bring hope.

A unique work of urban art on a car wash in Normal Heights speaks to the struggles of combat veterans.
A unique work of urban art on a car wash in Normal Heights. It speaks to the struggles of combat veterans.

Painful. Hopeful.

Those two words might describe some artwork on the side of a car wash in Normal Heights. You can find this thought-provoking mural near the corner of 33rd Street and Adams Avenue.

A nearby plaque invites curious eyes. Thank you for your service, it reads.

The mural is the work of seven post-911 combat veterans. A project of Combat Arts San Diego, it helps to spread awareness about the therapeutic benefit of creating art. And it shows the unconditional love that is provided by service dogs.

Creating art helps us to sort through conflicting thoughts and emotions. Art is an outlet for pent up pain. Art connects people. Art stirs the heart. Art provides meaning. Art offers hope.

This mural was created by seven combat veterans working with Combat Arts San Diego. Art-making benefits those with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
This mural was created by seven combat veterans working with Combat Arts San Diego. Art-making benefits those with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Art over fear.
Art over fear.
A warrior. A jumble of emotions. Isolation. A true best friend. Hope.
A warrior. A jumble of emotions. Isolation. A true best friend. Hope.

UPDATE!

Wow! Shortly after posting this I received additional info concerning this great project and a group photograph of those responsible!

I learned:

“There are hidden things in the art piece. If you look hard enough you can see Army written and Navy and others… If you look at ART in the middle on the left you will see from the A…rmy attached to it. Then on the right towards the bottom you will see the N in friends…you will see Navy… In (the word) Isolation – the A..ir Force is on the A. Just below the O in Isolation you will see some letters D E S P..if you look close at the S you will see a U in the bottom of the S and then the MC on the other side of the S. Look close.”

I also learned that the San Diego Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution raised funds for the project from their National Society.

The following photo includes Elizabeth Washburn, the leader of Combat Arts, two Vets who worked on the mural, and a few smiling local members of the D.A.R.

Group picture with Artists, Elizabeth, and San Diego Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution members.
Group picture with artists, Elizabeth Washburn, and San Diego Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution members. Photo provided by 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!