Scenes from Memorial Day in San Diego.

This morning I went to a Memorial Day ceremony at the San Diego Vietnam Peace Memorial, next to Balboa Park’s Veterans Museum. Representatives from San Diego’s Vietnamese community attended. They presented a wreath in remembrance. A beautiful new POW/MIA monument was revealed. (See my previous blog post.)

I and others then boarded an Old Town Trolley Tours bus. We were driven by our amazing Vietnam veteran driver Sam to Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery. There we attended the 119th Memorial Service and Day of Remembrance.

We heard deeply felt tributes to those who have served and sacrificed. Many wreaths were presented. Hearts poured out.

Thousand of tiny flags fluttered in the sea breeze.

Come along with me…

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!

POW/MIA monument unveiled at Veterans Museum.

A beautiful new POW/MIA monument was unveiled today at the San Diego Vietnam Peace Memorial, outside the Veterans Museum in Balboa Park.

During a moving Memorial Day ceremony, a black cloth concealing the monument was removed, revealing a gorgeous mosaic showing the American flag, a soaring eagle, and at the center the POW/MIA emblem. The artists who created the mosaics at the Vietnam War Memorial in La Mesa were also responsible for this stunning work.

In a stirring speech we learned that the remains of 67 missing in action were identified and brought home in the last year. Those who lost their lives on our nation’s behalf will not be left behind.

And they will never be forgotten.

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.

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Aviation history at Waldo Dean Waterman Park.

A small public park, recently created in Bankers Hill, is named for San Diego aviation pioneer Waldo Dean Waterman.
A small public park, recently created in Bankers Hill, is named for San Diego aviation pioneer Waldo Dean Waterman.

Last month a small public park opened in Bankers Hill at the edge of narrow Maple Canyon. The park is named after Waldo Dean Waterman, an inventor and early aviation pioneer who was the first in San Diego to fly a heavier-than-air machine. He made that flight into Maple Canyon in 1909, at the age of fifteen!

Waterman experimented with unique aeronautical designs for most of his life. He invented the first tail-less monoplane in the United States, called the Whatsit, which was the very first aircraft in history to use now standard tricycle landing gear. He then designed the Arrowbile, which was the first successful flying car!

Waldo Dean Waterman Park is a beautiful and inspiring addition to our city. For generations to come, the park will remain a living monument to a visionary man who made several important contributions to aviation history!

A resident of Bankers Hill walks his dog through the beautiful park. Local aviation history was made here in 1909.
A resident of Bankers Hill walks his dog through the beautiful park. Local aviation history was made here in 1909.
Beautiful blooms at Waldo Dean Waterman Park in Bankers Hill.
Beautiful blooms at Waldo Dean Waterman Park in Bankers Hill.
Sign summarizes the life and accomplishments of Early Bird aviation pioneer Waldo Dean Waterman, a resident of San Diego. He flew a glider at the age of 15 from this site into Maple Canyon below.
Sign summarizes the life and accomplishments of Early Bird aviation pioneer Waldo Dean Waterman, a resident of San Diego. He flew a glider at the age of 15 from this site into Maple Canyon below. (Click image to enlarge.)
Plaque dated July 1, 1959 commemorates Waldo D. Waterman for his many contributions to the science of flight.
Plaque dated July 1, 1959 commemorates Waldo D. Waterman for his many contributions to the science of flight.

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A glimpse of history at Mount Hope Cemetery.

I happened upon a few notable names during a walk through Mount Hope Cemetery. I had over an hour before the Memorial Day ceremony would begin, so I just wandered down winding roads through fields of headstones.

Many early residents of San Diego are buried at Mount Hope. Among the jumble of names engraved in stone, one can find some of the city’s most influential citizens. Like Alonzo Horton, Kate Sessions, George Marston, Thomas Whaley, Ah Quin, E. S. Babcock, and Robert Waterman. (Not to mention the famous author Raymond Chandler!) But I didn’t have a map. So I just meandered through the hilly cemetery and gazed.

Thousands of gravestones.

Every life different. Every life important in its own way.

Some of the dates indicate long lives, others short. But isn’t it true that all of our lives are short?

Someone asked about my visit–if the cemetery felt spooky. No. The best word that comes to mind is bittersweet. A feeling of both joy and sadness.

Every single name has become a part of San Diego history.

(I did a bit of research for this blog post. Hopefully I got the following information right. If not, leave a comment!)

George James Keating
George James Keating

George James Keating was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1840. He and his wife Fannie, owners of a farming company, eventually moved to San Diego in 1886. Keating made large investments in the city’s booming real estate market. After his death, Fannie oversaw the construction of the five-story Keating Building, which I blogged about several years ago here.

Graves of the Marston family.
Graves of the Marston family.
George White Marston
George White Marston

George W. Marston was often referred to as “San Diego’s First Citizen.”

A successful department store owner, he founded the San Diego Historical Society and was a prominent advocate for and planner of Balboa Park. He was a critical force in the establishment of the San Diego Public Library System and Presidio Park.

You can see a sculpture of George Marston on my blog here, and the garden of his beautiful, historic house, which is located in the northwest corner of Balboa Park, here.

George F. Stockton
George F. Stockton

Lt. George F. Stockton’s tragic drowning on August 21, 1921 prompted the creation of the City of Oceanside Lifeguard Service. He was pulled out to sea by a rip current. He had served on the World War I ship USS San Diego.

Edward McGurck
Edward McGurck

Col. Edward McGurck was born in Ireland. He purchased property on the northeast corner of Fifth Avenue and Market Street in 1876 for $50. In 1887 he developed the McGurck Block Building at that location.

Monument to the Kurtz family.
Monument to the Kurtz family.
Daniel Brower Kurtz
Daniel Brower Kurtz

Daniel Brower Kurtz has an important San Diego street named after him. He arrived in San Diego in 1850 and was elected second city mayor in 1851. He also served as a state senator, county judge, and assemblyman.

James Edward Friend
James Edward Friend

James Edward Friend was an enterprising reporter and newspaper publisher in the early days of San Diego.

Seeing his name brought a smile to my face. He was a good friend of Bum, San Diego’s Town Dog, and figured prominently in the wonderful book titled The Dog That Belonged to No One. Any young person living in San Diego should read this short book. It’s quite enjoyable, full of history and good humor.

Captain James Friend was also known as a friend and benefactor to San Diego’s newsboys.

You can read about Bum, San Diego’s lovable Town Dog, and see his sculpture in my blog post 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 share and enjoy!

Salk Institute architect Louis Kahn: an amazing exhibit!

Photo of exterior of The Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla. The famous building was designed by renowned modernist architect Louis Kahn.
Photo of exterior of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla. The famous building was designed by renowned modernist architect Louis Kahn.

One of the world’s most famous works of modern architecture is located in San Diego.  I’m referring to the Salk Institute building in La Jolla. Its designer was Louis Kahn, considered to have been one of the most important, innovative architects of the 20th century.

An exhibition now running at the San Diego Museum of Art takes a thorough look at the remarkable life, work and genius of Louis Kahn.

Last weekend I was given a personal tour of the amazing exhibit and found myself completely blown away by its scope. The photos, films, sketches, notes and architectural models, including a life-size portion of an extraordinary house–even works of art produced by Louis Kahn himself– were too much for my mind to absorb in one visit.

Kahn was undoubtedly a genius. His unique modern structures seem like ancient timeless monuments, made beautifully functional. They are simultaneously complex and simple. They are geometric, symmetric, modular, clean. They seem solid but light-filled. They contain unusual surprises of line, curve and angle. They are iconic.

Louis Kahn had a long, prolific career.  His work can be found throughout the world, and includes the enormous, citadel-like National Assembly Building of Bangladesh. Some of his more famous creations in the United States include the Kimball Art Museum, the Yale University Art Gallery, the library at Philips Exeter Academy, the Norman Fisher House in Philadelphia, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, and, of course, San Diego’s own remarkable Salk Institute.

There is so much to see in this impressive exhibit–there were so many amazing designs produced by Kahn during his productive lifetime–that I can’t begin to cover it all in this blog. So I must direct you to the San Diego Museum of Art’s website. To get a small hint of what you will discover at the museum, you might want to check out the Wikipedia article on Louis Kahn.

This weekend I headed up to La Jolla to see if I could snap some good photos of Louis Kahn’s very famous Salk Institute building. Walking around, I managed to photograph the exterior, but I was unable to access the interior courtyard. So I’ve included one photo from Wikimedia Commons, just to provide a quick idea. Peering through a fence, I did glimpse some scaffolding in the interior area, so I suppose that would have nullified my photographic attempts, anyway.

The Salk Institute building’s walls are made of smooth exposed concrete. While this material might appear stark, the monumental appearance, the intriguing shapes and architectural symmetry are absolutely impressive. There is a mathematical, complex interaction between shadow and light that is difficult to describe–and quite beautiful.

Want to see more of Kahn’s brilliant work? Head over to the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park before this special exhibition closes on January 31, 2017.

Louis Kahn The Power of Architecture is a special exhibit showing at the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park through January 31, 2017.
Louis Kahn: The Power of Architecture is a special exhibit showing at the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park through January 31, 2017.
Salk Institute in La Jolla from the interior courtyard. (A cropped public domain photo from Wikimedia Commons.)
Salk Institute in La Jolla from the interior courtyard. (A cropped public domain photo from Wikimedia Commons.)
Interior section of the Salk Institute just beyond the main entrance.
Interior section of the Salk Institute just beyond the main entrance.
Kahn's design seems both simple and futuristic. The interior space utilized by medical research scientists is said to be uniquely inspiring and functional.
Kahn’s design seems both simple and futuristic. The interior space utilized by medical research scientists is said to be intellectually inspiring and uniquely functional.
Another photo of the Salk Institute building's fascinating exterior.
Another photo of the Salk Institute building’s fascinating exterior.
A monumental building made of smooth exposed concrete with simple, clean lines, between green grass and blue San Diego sky.
A monumental building made of smooth exposed concrete with simple, clean lines, between green grass and blue San Diego sky.
A small but interesting portion of the Salk Institute building.
A small but interesting portion of the Salk Institute building.
The surface of the Salk Institute building is stark but surprisingly beautiful. Time has made the concrete appear more earthen and natural. Almost like marble.
The surface of the Salk Institute building is stark but surprisingly beautiful. Time has made the concrete appear more earthen and natural. Almost like marble.
Laboratory visible through one window. Jonas Salk invented the polio vaccine. Salk Institute today is a world leader in medical research.
Laboratory visible through one window. Jonas Salk invented the polio vaccine. Salk Institute today is a world leader in medical research.
It's a sunny day in La Jolla as someone walks toward a brilliant creation of the human mind--a building designed by famed modernist architect Louis Kahn.
It’s a sunny day in La Jolla as someone walks toward a brilliant creation of the human mind: a building designed by famed modernist architect Louis Kahn.

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 interesting photos for you to enjoy!

Photos of Memorial Day ceremony at Fort Rosecrans.

Flags and flowers are placed where the fallen now rest.
Flags and flowers are placed where the fallen now rest.

Today there was a moving Memorial Day ceremony at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery. I attended.

Here are some photos. Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, located on Point Loma high above the Pacific Ocean and San Diego Bay, is the final resting place of thousands of American soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, and their families, who served their country with courage and honor. Many who are buried in this hallowed place fought in different conflicts spanning our nation’s history, right up to the present-day War on Terrorism. Because of its amazing natural setting, many say Fort Rosecrans is more beautiful than even Arlington or Normandy. As you can see, it’s a special place.

A Memorial Day rose adorns a solemn grave marker at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.
A Memorial Day rose adorns a solemn grave marker at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.
American flags at the grave markers around the USS Bennington Monument. The granite obelisk remembers those sailors who lost their lives when the warship's boiler exploded in San Diego Bay.
American flags at the grave markers around the USS Bennington Monument. The granite obelisk remembers those sailors who lost their lives when the warship’s boiler exploded in San Diego Bay in 1905.
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.
Walking among silent rows of white. Many gave the ultimate sacrifice for their nation.
Walking among silent rows of white. Many gave the ultimate sacrifice for their nation.
Many old granite markers at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery recall decades and centuries of history.
Many old granite markers at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery recall decades and centuries of history.
In memory of the Mormon Battalion whose members made the longest military march in U.S. history of over 2000 miles from Iowa to San Diego in 1847.
A marker reads: “Lydia Hunter died from complications resulting from the birth of her only child, a son named Diego Hunter, the first American born in San Diego. Diego was born 20 April 1847, Lydia died 6 days later. May we honor her and each of those women who served with the Mormon Battalion.” Members of the Mormon Battalion made the longest military march in U.S. history. They marched over 2000 miles from Iowa to San Diego in 1847.
People assemble in front of the rostrum where the Memorial Day service will be conducted at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.
People assemble in front of the rostrum where the Memorial Day service will be conducted at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.
People from all walks of life have gathered together to honor those who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.
People from all walks of life have gathered together to honor those who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.
While people take their seats before the opening and introduction, Marine Band San Diego provides music.
While people take their seats before the opening and introduction, Marine Band San Diego provides music.
The color guard comes forward. Those attending the ceremony sing the Star Spangled Banner and say the Pledge of Allegiance.
The color guard comes forward. Those attending the ceremony sing the Star Spangled Banner and recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
Some patriots in the crowd wave small flags.
Some patriots in the crowd wave small flags.
Veterans salute. Respect is shown for the flag.
Veterans salute. Respect is shown for the flag.
The color guard exited along the side where I sat, allowing me to take a couple of good photographs.
The color guard exited along the side where I sat, allowing me to take a couple of good photographs.
Members of a high school ROTC program carry the United States and California flags.
Members of a high school ROTC program carry the United States and California flags.
Folded flags are presented to families of fallen heroes. Everyone watching was very attentive and quiet.
Folded flags are presented to families of fallen heroes. Everyone watching was very attentive and quiet.
An address about different forms of love during Memorial Day. The moving speech was given by Major General O'Donohue of the 1st Marine Division in Camp Pendleton.
An address about different forms of love during Memorial Day. The moving speech was given by Major General O’Donohue of the 1st Marine Division in Camp Pendleton.
Ceremonial wreaths approach the rostrum. Many organizations presented wreaths, including the Knights of Columbus shown here.
Ceremonial wreaths approach the rostrum. Many organizations presented wreaths, including the Knights of Columbus shown here.
Various ceremonial wreaths are displayed in front of the assembled people. Tokens of love, gratitude and respect.
Various ceremonial wreaths are displayed in front of the assembled people. Tokens of love, gratitude and respect.
Finally, taps is played while the cemetery flag is lowered to half staff. Salutes included three rifle volleys, a musket volley, and a cannon.
Finally, taps is played while the cemetery flag is lowered to half staff. Salutes included three rifle volleys, a musket volley, and a cannon.
A bagpiper, after playing Lament for a Soldier, exits across the green grass, where the fallen lie eternally.
A bagpiper, after playing Lament for a Soldier, exits across the green grass, where the fallen lie eternally.
The ceremony is over, and those visiting the cemetery fan out to pay their respects. The Marine Band remained seated for a bit of concluding music.
The ceremony is over, and those visiting the cemetery fan out to pay their respects. The Marine Band remained seated for a bit of concluding music.
A Navy officer walks down a cemetery driveway, which overlooks the channel entrance to San Diego Bay.
A Navy officer walks down a cemetery driveway, which overlooks the channel entrance to San Diego Bay.
Walls around the cemetery contain columbarium niches for cremated remains.
Walls around the cemetery contain columbarium niches for cremated remains.  Naval Air Station North Island and downtown San Diego are visible in the background.
Walking along the columbarium. Its plaques identify loved ones.
Walking along the columbarium. Its plaques identify loved ones.
These two guys had bouquets in their backpacks. They are gazing along the Point Loma peninsula in the direction of Cabrillo National Monument.
These two guys had bouquets in their backpacks. They are gazing along the Point Loma peninsula in the direction of Cabrillo National Monument.
A deeply moving sight. Solemn rows of white on rolling green hills. Volunteers have adorned every grave with an American flag and rose.
A deeply moving sight. Solemn rows of white on rolling green hills. Volunteers have provided every grave with an American flag and rose.
Member of the next generation among those who came before.
Member of the next generation among those who came before.
The living walk thoughtfully through Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego.
The living walk thoughtfully through Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego.
More grave markers and a small plaque nearby.
More grave markers and a small plaque nearby.
The markers in this memorial area honor veterans whose remains have not been recovered or identified, were buried at sea, donated to science, or cremated and the ashes scattered.
The markers in this memorial area honor veterans whose remains have not been recovered or identified, were buried at sea, donated to science, or cremated and the ashes scattered.
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.
After the Memorial Day ceremony, some people linger to view the floral tributes and the flag-draped Casket of the Unknown Soldier. The plaque behind the rostrum contains President Lincoln’s famed Gettysburg Address.
And now almost everyone has departed.
And now almost everyone has departed.
Plaque near Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery entrance has lines from The Bivouac of the Dead, a poem by Theodore O'Hara.
Plaque near Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery entrance has lines from The Bivouac of the Dead, a poem by Theodore O’Hara.
The main entrance plaque at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery. The flag flies at half staff.
The main entrance plaque at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery. The flag flies at half staff.
Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery is also a California Registered Historical Landmark.
Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery is also a California Registered Historical Landmark.
Several monuments near the cemetery entrance memorialize tragic events in U.S. military history, including ships lost in action.
Several monuments near the cemetery entrance memorialize tragic events in U.S. military history, including ships lost in action.
Flags in the breeze. A cloudy day. People atop the hill gaze down at the unseen eternal ocean.
Flags in the breeze. A cloudy day. People atop the hill gaze down at the eternal ocean.
Looking beyond grave markers toward a hazy blue horizon.
Looking beyond grave markers toward a hazy blue horizon.
A beautiful old tree rises from the Earth. Life persists.
A beautiful old tree rises from the Earth. Life persists.
A slow, thoughtful walk.
A slow, thoughtful walk.
Youth replaces a red rose that was blown by the wind to the ground. He doesn't realize that someone is watching.
Youth replaces a red rose that was blown by the wind to the ground. He doesn’t realize that someone is watching.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Do you like to read short pieces of thought-provoking fiction? You might enjoy checking out Short Stories by Richard.