Bells of Peace ring on a special Veterans Day!

The historic California Tower rises into the blue sky above San Diego's beautiful Balboa Park.
The historic California Tower rises into the blue sky above San Diego’s beautiful Balboa Park.

This morning, at 11:00 am, the carillon bells of Balboa Park’s iconic California Tower chimed twenty-one times. These symbolic Bells of Peace marked the centennial of Armistice Day.

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, exactly one hundred years ago, World War I finally came to an end.

In the United States, Armistice Day became Veterans Day, a holiday that honors American veterans who’ve served their country in war and in peace. So this morning, when the clock struck eleven, on what might be called the 100th anniversary of Veterans Day, a special ceremony accompanied the ringing Bells of Peace. Flags were presented and voices lifted in front of the Museum of Man.

These photographs relive that ceremony…

Bells of Peace rang out for the 100th Anniversary of Veterans Day! A special ceremony was held in front of the Museum of Man.
Bells of Peace rang out for the 100th Anniversary of Veterans Day! A special ceremony was held in front of the San Diego Museum of Man.
People gather for a symbolic, emotionally powerful event.
People gather for a symbolic, emotionally powerful event.
Gina Seashore, who plays the carillon inside the California Tower, addresses those who have gathered for the Veterans Day ceremony.
Gina Seashore, who plays the carillon inside the California Tower, addresses those who have gathered for the Veterans Day ceremony.
The patriotic Color Guard, from Ramona High School's NJROTC, moves forward as the ceremony begins.
The patriotic Color Guard, from Ramona High School’s NJROTC, moves forward as the short ceremony begins.
Flags advance to the front of the Museum of Man.
Flags advance to the front of the Museum of Man.

A trio sings the National Anthem.
A trio sings the National Anthem.

After the carillon bells ring twenty-one times, Taps is played.
After the carillon bells ring twenty-one times, Taps is played.

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!

Write down your secret, share it anonymously!

PostSecret is coming to the Museum of Man in Balboa Park on April 14, 2018.
PostSecret is coming to the Museum of Man in Balboa Park on April 14, 2018.

How cool is this?

I was walking through the Fall Back Festival in the Gaslamp before it opened this morning and stumbled upon a fantastic community art project!

The project is called PostSecret, and it was begun in 2004 by an inspired gentleman named Frank Warren. People anonymously write down one of their deepest emotional secrets on a postcard and mail it in. The postcards are then displayed as public art! The project has already received over a million submissions!

The folks I met at the Fall Back Festival were representing the Museum of Man in Balboa Park. I learned the traveling PostSecret exhibition is coming to San Diego and will open at the museum on April 14, 2018! Residents of San Diego are encouraged to share their secrets!

How? Simply mail a creative postcard containing one of your written secrets to the Museum of Man address you see in one of my photos. Your secret can be absolutely anything–a regret, a fear, a desire, a confession–as long as it is true. You might make your postcard into a work of art, or simply write down a few brief words.

I’m mailing my postcard tomorrow.

You also have secrets to share, don’t you?

These friendly folks would like you to mail in one of your secrets anonymously!
These friendly folks would like you to mail in one of your secrets anonymously!
PostSecret is a project that was begun in 2004 by Frank Warren. Over a million secrets have been shared.
PostSecret is a project that was begun in 2004 by Frank Warren. Over a million secrets have been shared.
That address on the right is where you need to mail your postcard! Mail as many secrets as you'd like!
That address on the right is where you need to mail your postcard! Mail as many secrets as you’d like!
Perhaps by mailing your secret, you'll help us humans better understand our inner selves. Or gain a personal sense of relief. Or merely have a good laugh!
Perhaps by mailing your secret, you’ll help us humans better understand our inner selves. Or gain a personal sense of relief. Or simply enjoy a healthy laugh!

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!

Cool knight in golden armor stands guard in San Diego!

A cool knight in golden armor poses for a photo shoot in front of Balboa Park's ornate Museum of Man facade.
A cool knight in golden armor poses for a fantasy photo shoot in front of Balboa Park’s ornate Museum of Man facade.

I was walking through Balboa Park, on a mission to check out today’s Native American Pow Wow, when I was stopped in my tracks by a fearsome knight in shining golden armor!

Check out a few super cool photos! Someone was posing in extraordinarily elaborate gold armor near the entrance to the Museum of Man. It might be the most extraordinary medieval cosplay I’ve ever seen!  (My first impression, upon seeing the helmet, is that this might be an elite servant of Sauron.  If that’s the case, those brave heroes of Gondor should be very much afraid!)

I spoke very briefly to the guy in the costume. Nothing in particular was being promoted. My impression is that he made the exotic suit of armor himself. Wow! I can’t wait for San Diego Comic-Con! It’s two months away!

UPDATE!

In the comments, Andrew identified the cosplay as Imperius, the Archangel of Valor from Blizzard’s Diablo series. Cool!

Visitors to Balboa Park in San Diego were surprised to see an exotic medieval knight in elaborate golden armor standing guard near the entrance to the Museum of Man.
Visitors to Balboa Park in San Diego were surprised to see an impressive knight in elaborate golden armor standing guard near the entrance to the Museum of Man.
Truly amazing cosplay! A warrior in incredible golden armor seems to have emerged from Lord of the Rings, Arthurian legend, Game of Thrones...or the mists of the distant past. (San Diego Comic-Con is coming in two months! I can't wait! I'll be capturing loads of cool pics!))
Truly fantastic cosplay! A warrior in incredible golden armor seems to have emerged from Lord of the Rings, Arthurian legend, Game of Thrones…or the mists of the distant past.

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.

Historic reopening of California Tower in Balboa Park.

Dignitaries cut symbolic ribbon officially opening California Tower on New Year's Day.
Dignitaries cut symbolic ribbon officially opening California Tower on New Year’s Day.

New Year’s Day in San Diego’s beautiful Balboa Park was marked by a historic event. Today, after 80 years, the California Tower reopened to the general public!

The California Tower is one of the most iconic sights in San Diego. Like many of the ornate Spanish Colonial Revival-style buildings in today’s Balboa Park, it was built for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, which celebrated the opening of the Panama Canal. The tower was originally accessible to visitors, but in 1935 that changed. One of the most important developments during the Balboa Park Centennial Celebration this year is the long-awaited reopening of the amazing tower!

With the purchase of a special ticket, anyone can now join a small tour that climbs up 125 steps to an observation deck high above the park. Views are said to be breathtaking in all four directions. One day (when it’s not sold out) I’ll check the tour out and post some pics!

Dignitaries at the noon ribbon-cutting ceremony included U.S. Congressman Scott Peters, San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts, and San Diego City Councilman Todd Gloria.

You might recognize the California Tower and other portions of the California Building, which now houses the San Diego Museum of Man, from the movie Citizen Kane. Shots of Balboa Park’s architectural wonder were said to be Charles Foster Kane’s Xanadu Mansion in Orson Welles’ classic film.

The tower, reopened today to the general public, rises above tiled dome of California Building.
The tower, reopened today to the general public, rises above tiled dome of California Building.
Museum visitors can now climb the California Tower for amazing panoramic views.
Museum visitors can now climb the California Tower for amazing panoramic views.
Audience gathers for ceremony on the tower's 100 year anniversary.
Audience gathers for ceremony on the tower’s 100 year anniversary.
Several cool bicyclists happened to ride down El Prado in front of the Museum of Man.
Several cool bicyclists happened to ride down El Prado in front of the Museum of Man.
News cameras wait for speeches, and so do the assembled dignitaries nearby.
News cameras wait for speeches, and so do the assembled dignitaries nearby.
Micah D. Parzen of the San Diego Museum of Man begins by thanking many people.
Micah D. Parzen of the San Diego Museum of Man begins by thanking many people.
California Tower first opened in 1915 for Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park.
California Tower first opened in 1915 for Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park.
Photographers up on the observation deck, where the public can now go!
Photographers up on the observation deck, where the public can now go!
Local politicians, museum head and donor, poised ready to cut the big red ribbon!
Local politicians, museum head and donor, poised ready to cut the big red ribbon!
Everyone feels great about historic event, taking place during Balboa Park's Centennial Celebration.
Feeling great about historic event, taking place during Balboa Park’s Centennial Celebration.
Crowd disperses from ribbon cutting ceremony on another beautiful San Diego day!
Crowd disperses from ribbon cutting ceremony on another beautiful San Diego day!

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Pleasant stroll toward the Old Globe Theatre.

old globe theatre comes into view

Here comes the famous Old Globe Theatre into view! It’s the round Tudor-style building there on the left. More about it in my next blog post…

museum of man and california tower from the east

Turning for a moment to the left, we see the east side of the Museum of Man’s colorful dome and the picturesque California Tower.

a pleasant nook in balboa park

A pleasant nook below with benches. That’s the Craig Noel Garden, named after the Old Globe Theatre’s founding director. This is a great place to take a rest, or read a book!

Water splashes from face in fountain at west end of the Craig Noel Garden.
Water splashes from face in fountain at west end of the Craig Noel Garden.
Plaque explains how Craig Noel helped to found the Old Globe Theatre.
Plaque explains how Craig Noel helped to found the Old Globe Theatre.
Passage by Museum of Man leads back toward El Prado.
Passage by Museum of Man leads back toward El Prado.

Beer, headhunters, and instruments of torture.

beer, headhunters, and instruments of torture

What’s that? Huh?

Check out these two banners! They’re hanging in the courtyard in front of the Museum of Man, at the west end of El Prado in Balboa Park.

The first advertises an exhibition about the history of beer. Beerology seems to include the study of imbibing pharaohs and thirsty headhunters. Drink up!

The second depicts a chair covered with sharp spikes. Presumably one of those can be found on display in the museum, along with other delightful instruments of torture. A quite memorable cultural experience!

People walk through plaza in front of the Museum of Man.
People walk through plaza in front of the Museum of Man.

The beautiful California Building and Quadrangle.

Elaborate facade of the beautiful Museum of Man in Balboa Park.
Elaborate facade of the beautiful California Building in Balboa Park.

Here’s one iconic sight in Balboa Park I always lift my eyes to enjoy. The elaborate facade of the California Building, home of the San Diego Museum of Man, contains sculpted historical figures molded from clay and plaster. These figures include Junipero Serra, father of California’s Spanish missions, and Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, who discovered San Diego Bay nearly five centuries ago in 1542.

This fantastic building, inspired by the church of San Diego in Guanajuato, Mexico, was erected for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, an event that celebrated the opening of the Panama Canal and promoted San Diego as a destination. Like other similar buildings to the east along El Prado, it is in the Spanish Colonial Revival architectural style, which was largely developed by Bertram Goodhue.

The California Building and adjacent California Tower, and the more simple structure to the south across El Prado–housing Evernham Hall and the St. Francis Chapel–form the California Quadrangle. The courtyard-like area at the quadrangle’s center, where visitors can sit at tables and through which cars today travel, is called the Plaza de California.

Every few years I venture into The Museum of Man just to refresh my memory. There are a number of interesting anthropological exhibits, including a whole room full of spooky Egyptian mummies!

Here are some more pics…

Gazing up at the colorful dome and the California Tower.
Gazing up at the colorful dome of the California Building, and the California Tower.
People on the street in front of the Museum of Man.
People on the street in front of the Museum of Man. El Prado runs through the Plaza de California.
Plaster figures from local history adorn the ornate facade.
Plaster figures from local history adorn the ornate facade.
Three exhibits running at the Museum of Art.
Banners near the entrance show current exhibits at the Museum of Man.
Plaque by Museum of Man commemorates Cabrillo's discovery of California.
Plaque a bit west of the Museum of Man, beside the archway into Balboa Park’s California Quadrangle, commemorates Cabrillo’s discovery of California.
Sitting at table under an umbrella near Museum of Man.
Sitting at a table under an umbrella near the beautiful Museum of Man.

Here are even more photos from a later date…

Sign in the California Quadrangle. Built for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, the Plaza de California and surrounding buildings served as the grand west entrance for the exposition.
Sign in the California Quadrangle. Built for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, the Plaza de California and surrounding buildings served as the grand west entrance for the exposition.
Photo toward the southeast corner of the California Quadrangle shows Mission Revival style arches.
Photo toward the southeast corner of the California Quadrangle shows Mission Revival style arches.
Photo of the iconic California Tower from a point east on El Prado.
Photo of the iconic California Tower from a point east on El Prado.
The ornate upper levels of the California Bell Tower.
The ornate upper levels of the California Bell Tower. Tours up the tower’s stairs provide amazing views of Balboa Park and San Diego.
Photo of the beautiful California Building from the east, near the Old Globe Theatre.
Photo of the beautiful California Building from the east, near the Old Globe Theatre.
Elaborate ornamentation around the archway outside the east side of the California Quadrangle.
Elaborate ornamentation around the archway outside the east side of the California Quadrangle.
Colorful dome tiles, part of the Spanish Colonial Revival masterpiece of exposition architect Bertram Goodhue.
Colorful dome tiles, part of the Spanish Colonial Revival masterpiece of exposition architect Bertram Goodhue.

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!

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