Wreath ceremony on USS Midway honors heroes.

This morning I attended a special Memorial Day weekend ceremony on the flight deck of the USS Midway. Heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice defending our precious freedom were remembered and honored.

A community band played. The National Anthem was sung. Two vintage warplanes passed overhead. The colors were retired.

Veterans and those who fell in battle were thanked with moving speeches. Rear Admiral Bette Bolivar, commander of Navy Region Southwest, spoke powerfully about protecting liberty. I jotted down a few of her words. “Our banner of Freedom soaring high . . . others before self . . . honoring their lives and their great sacrifices . . .”

Veterans in attendance were asked to speak into a microphone and tell everyone where they served. Repeated applause.

Four wreaths honoring those who’ve gone before were tossed from the flight deck into San Diego Bay, and a fifth was tossed from the Maritime Museum’s restored Swift Boat.

Harbor Patrol boats signaled their honor with columns of water.

Many salutes.

Fluttering flags in sunlight.

Proud faces.

Faces of those who have served their nation.

Faces of those who remember.

Faces of those who will never, ever forget.

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 aboard Peruvian Navy tall ship BAP Unión!

Many cool sights await visitors who come aboard Peruvian Navy training ship BAP Unión.
Many cool sights await visitors who come aboard Peruvian Navy training ship BAP Unión.

This morning I stepped aboard an amazing ship. The enormous Peruvian tall ship BAP Unión visited San Diego for the weekend!

The BAP Unión is a beautiful sailing vessel that is used to train cadets in the Peruvian Navy. The 378 foot, four-masted barque also operates as a floating goodwill ambassador, uniquely representing the nation of Peru.

San Diego is the first stop of BAP Unión’s first ever tour of the West Coast!

I took photographs of the tall ship from Broadway Pier late Thursday. Today I took the opportunity to go aboard and walk around the deck on a self-guided tour.

Please read the photo captions for more interesting information. Click the signs and they will enlarge for easy reading.

Four-masted barque BAP Unión docked at Broadway Pier in San Diego, during its 2019 tour of the West Coast.
Four-masted barque BAP Unión docked at Broadway Pier in San Diego, during its 2019 tour of the West Coast.
People explore the impressive tall ship during its visit to San Diego's Embarcadero.
People explore the impressive tall ship during its visit to San Diego’s Embarcadero.
Sign explains the BAP Unión's figurehead, which represents emperor Túpac Inca Yupanqui, who led a fleet of rafts on a voyage of exploration across the Pacific Ocean.
Sign explains the BAP Unión’s figurehead, which represents emperor Túpac Inca Yupanqui, who led a fleet of rafts on a voyage of exploration across the Pacific Ocean.
The bronze figurehead was sculpted by Peruvian artist Pilar Martínez.
The bronze figurehead was sculpted by Peruvian artist Pilar Martínez.
A gangway welcomes curious visitors during a sunny San Diego weekend.
A gangway welcomes curious visitors during a sunny San Diego weekend.
Bienvenidos a bordo al BAP "Unión"
Bienvenidos a bordo al B.A.P. “Unión”
On the main deck of BAP Unión, near the aft mainmast and its many ropes.
On the main deck of BAP Unión, near the aft mainmast and its many working ropes.
The ship's shining bell.
The ship’s shining bell.
Tilting my head upward to gaze at the tall ship's masts, yards and rigging.
Tilting my head upward to gaze at the tall ship’s masts, yards and rigging.
I've turned about to face the ship's stern. I see plaques, the ship's wheel and the ship's bridge.
I’ve turned about to face the ship’s stern. I see plaques, the ship’s wheel and the bridge.
Sign explains Peru's coat of arms, a national symbol used by the nation's armed forces.
Sign explains Peru’s coat of arms, a national symbol used by the country’s armed forces.
Plaque commemorates the launching of BAP Unión on December 22, 2014. The ship was commissioned on January 27, 2016. At the time of her commissioning, she was the largest sailing ship in Latin America.
Plaque commemorates the launching of BAP Unión on December 22, 2014. The ship was commissioned on January 27, 2016. At the time of her commissioning, she was the largest sailing ship in Latin America.
Artistic metalwork can be found all over the perfectly maintained tall ship, including these medallion-like designs.
Artistic metalwork can be found all over the perfectly maintained tall ship, including these medallion-like designs.
Shining plaques in the wooden deck at the foot of some steps.
Shining plaques in the wooden deck at the foot of some steps.
Climbing up the steps that lead to an area near the ship's bridge.
Climbing up the steps that lead to an area near the ship’s bridge.
Engraved at the edge of each step is BUQUE ESCUELA UNION.
Engraved at the edge of each step is BUQUE ESCUELA UNION.
Looking back down at the wooden deck around the aft mainmast.
Looking back down at the wooden deck around the aft mainmast.
A visitor aboard the BAP Unión checks out the impressive ship's wheel.
A visitor aboard the BAP Unión checks out the impressive ship’s wheel.
The shining words BUQUE ESCUELA A VELA UNION.
The words BUQUE ESCUELA A VELA UNION.
A sign provides a description of the ship's wheel.
A sign provides a description of the ship’s wheel.
Looking forward along the ship. Many downtown San Diego buildings rise in the background.
Looking forward across the amazing ship. Many downtown San Diego buildings rise in the background.
Mounted above the ship's bridge is Peru's proud coat of arms.
Mounted above the ship’s bridge is Peru’s coat of arms.
Walking past the bridge toward the stern of BAP Unión.
Walking past the bridge toward the stern of BAP Unión.
Visitors pose for a photo at a second wheel at the rear of the enormous tall ship.
Visitors pose for a photo at a second wheel at the rear of the large tall ship.
Looking straight up into the San Diego sky at the billowing flag of Peru.
Looking straight up into the San Diego sky at the billowing flag of Peru.
Starting forward, about to pass the ship's bridge.
Starting forward, about to pass the ship’s bridge.
Sign explains the bridge, where modern navigation and steering controls are located. The ship's watch is constant under the command of an officer.
Sign explains the bridge, where modern navigation and steering controls are located, and where naval cadets train. The ship’s watch is constant under the command of an officer.
About to descend steps, as I continue forward along the port side of the tall ship.
About to descend steps, as I continue forward along the port side of the ship.
A crew member on deck tends to some ropes.
A crew member on deck tends to some ropes.
Another look upward before heading into an internal part of the ship.
Another look upward before heading into an internal part of the ship.
Inside a comfortable cabin, visitors enjoy looking at many cultural displays concerning Peru, including exquisite crafts and textiles.
Inside a spacious cabin, visitors enjoy looking at many cultural displays that concern Peru, including exquisite crafts and textiles.
A fantastic work of art represents Peruvian culture.
A fantastic work of art represents Peruvian culture.
A colorful Peruvian folk art figurine.
A colorful Peruvian folk art figurine.
An officer's cap, books, and more artwork on a shelf.
An officer’s cap with books and more artwork on a shelf.
A photo through a window into the ship's kitchen, where Peruvian dishes are prepared for the crew and foreign guests.
As the self-guided tour proceeded, I took a photo through a window into the ship’s kitchen. This is where Peruvian dishes are prepared for the crew and foreign guests.
Sign describes the kitchen of BAP Unión.
Sign describes the kitchen of BAP Unión.
I see food being prepared!
I see some food being prepared!
Back outside in sunlight on a more forward part of the main deck. Souvenirs and wares from Peru could be purchased by visitors.
Back outside in sunlight on a more forward part of the main deck. Souvenirs from Peru could be purchased by visitors.
Another flight of steps leads toward the ship's bow.
Another flight of steps leads toward the ship’s bow.
I couldn't stop looking up.
I couldn’t stop looking up.
Visitors learn a bit about the tall ship's operation, including how an anchor is lowered.
Visitors learn a bit about the tall ship’s operation, including how an anchor is lowered.
An anchor chain, winch and other equipment on the deck near BAP Unión's bow.
An anchor chain, winch and other equipment operated by naval cadets near BAP Unión’s bow.
Looking backward across the upper deck of the picturesque Peruvian tall ship.
Looking back across the upper deck of the picturesque Peruvian tall ship.
One last sets of steps to descend before the self-guided tour ends.
One last sets of steps to descend before the self-guided tour ends.
The incredible Peruvian tall ship BAP Unión visits San Diego.
The incredible Peruvian tall ship BAP Unión visits San Diego.

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!

An amazing Peruvian tall ship visits San Diego!

The Peruvian Navy training ship BAP Unión is presently docked at San Diego’s Broadway Pier. I walked out onto the pier late today to check out the enormous, four-masted tall ship!

The 3-year-old BAP Unión is a 378 foot steel-hulled barque, with a crew that includes many Peruvian naval cadets. As young sailors learn about duty aboard an amazing sailing ship, the BAP Unión serves as a fine ambassador for the nation of Peru wherever it goes. The handsome bronze figurehead, which includes symbols from the Inca culture, was created by Peruvian sculptor Pilar Martinez Woodman.

Today the tall ship begins her very first tour of the West Coast, following earlier stops at San Juan, Miami, Mayport, Norfolk and Boston. The BAP Unión will be docked at San Diego’s Embarcadero through this weekend, and visitors can enjoy tours aboard the vessel with an admission ticket to the Maritime Museum of San Diego!

As I walked out on Broadway Pier, I took some cool photos!

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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!

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!

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!

Beaumont’s naval Art of the Sea in San Diego.

Planes Roar Into Action from the U.S. Aircraft Carriers Wasp and Enterprise, watercolor, 1941. The Irvine Museum Collection.
Planes Roar Into Action from the U.S. Aircraft Carriers Wasp and Enterprise, watercolor, 1941. The Irvine Museum Collection.

An extraordinary exhibition of work by one of America’s greatest artists is now on display at the Maritime Museum of San Diego. Art of the Sea collects many iconic works by Arthur Beaumont (1890-1978), renowned for his wartime commissions for National Geographic Magazine, and for being named by the U.S. Navy the Artist Laureate of the Fleet in 1958.

Arthur Beaumont’s dramatic paintings not only depict massive warships in action at sea, but ships of every type in locations around the world, and diverse landscapes painted from his travels and rich personal experience.

As a young man Beaumont worked on a ranch in Canada, where he developed his love for sketching and painting. He moved to California and became a ranch hand in the San Joaquin Valley; he then later lived in Los Angeles, working as an artist. His fine portraits were noticed by the U.S. Navy, for whom he was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Naval Reserve. He eventually became America’s foremost military artist. His dramatic paintings record important aspects our nation’s history through many decades.

My poor yellowish photographs in the softly lit Gould Eddy Gallery hardly do justice to the dynamic, brilliantly colorful paintings you’ll experience in this world-class exhibition. Over the years, the Maritime Museum of San Diego has featured some very important artwork, including a breathtaking collection of works by James E. Buttersworth, but this might be my favorite so far!

If you love fine art, or military history, or the sweep of American and world history in general, you must not miss Art of the Sea. After you check out these amazing paintings, stretch your legs and enjoy the many historic ships of the Maritime Museum of San Diego, rated one of the very best maritime museums in the world!

Extraordinary paintings by famed artist Arthur Beaumont fill the Gould Eddy Gallery in the Steam Ferry Berkeley, at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
Dozens of extraordinary paintings by famed artist Arthur Beaumont fill the Gould Eddy Gallery in the Steam Ferry Berkeley, at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
Sign describes the life and work of Arthur E. Beaumont, named by the Navy the Artist Laureate of the U.S. Fleet in 1958. He is also known for his wartime commissions for National Geographic Magazine.
Sign describes the life and work of Arthur E. Beaumont, named by the Navy the Artist Laureate of the U.S. Fleet in 1958. He is also known for his wartime commissions for National Geographic Magazine.
A painting of a California Mission, watercolor on paper, 1949. The Irvine Museum Collection.
A painting of a California Mission, watercolor on paper, 1949. The Irvine Museum Collection.
Cowboy at the Corral Lassoing a Steer, oil, 1929. The Bowers Museum.
Cowboy at the Corral Lassoing a Steer, oil, 1929. The Bowers Museum.
John Paul Jones on the USS Ranger, July 4, 1777, pen and ink, 1934. The Stuart Bourdon Collection.
John Paul Jones on the USS Ranger, July 4, 1777, pen and ink, 1934. The Stuart Bourdon Collection.
Portrait of Admiral William D. Leahy, oil on canvas, 1936. U.S. Naval Academy Museum.
Portrait of Admiral William D. Leahy, oil on canvas, 1936. U.S. Naval Academy Museum.
Heavy and Light Cruisers Range Far to Scout or Fight; USS Astoria and USS Phoenix, watercolor on board, 1941. The Irvine Museum Collection.
Heavy and Light Cruisers Range Far to Scout or Fight; USS Astoria and USS Phoenix, watercolor on board, 1941. The Irvine Museum Collection.
Navy Sea Planes, watercolor, 1941. The N. Arthur Astor Family Trust.
Navy Sea Planes, watercolor, 1941. The N. Arthur Astor Family Trust.
War Weary USS San Diego Returns to Home Port, watercolor, 1967. The Hilbert Museum.
War Weary USS San Diego Returns to Home Port, watercolor, 1967. The Hilbert Museum.
Snow Field Training, watercolor, 1942. Catherine Campbell Beaumont Collection.
Snow Field Training, watercolor, 1942. Catherine Campbell Beaumont Collection.
Fog Horn, watercolor, ca. 1950. The Hilbert Collection.
Fog Horn, watercolor, ca. 1950. The Hilbert Collection.
Chinese Junk Boat, watercolor, 1963. Robert Dreibelbis Collection.
Chinese Junk Boat, watercolor, 1963. Robert Dreibelbis Collection.
Stella Polaris, Howard Hughes' yacht, watercolor, 1935. The Los Angeles Maritime Museum.
Stella Polaris, Howard Hughes’ yacht, watercolor, 1935. The Los Angeles Maritime Museum.
Relief of McMurdo, watercolor, 1959. The Irvine Museum Collection.
Relief of McMurdo, watercolor, 1959. The Irvine Museum Collection.
The Last Voyage of the Queen Mary, in the company of the USS Long Beach, watercolor, 1972. Catherine Campbell Beaumont Collection.
The Last Voyage of the Queen Mary, in the company of the USS Long Beach, watercolor, 1972. Catherine Campbell Beaumont Collection.

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!

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!

Marine Corps Recruit Depot brass plaque at City Hall.

A large plaque presented by Marine Corps Recruit Depot to the City of San Diego commemorates the 200th Anniversary of the United States Marines.
A large plaque presented by the Marine Corps Recruit Depot to the City of San Diego commemorates the 200th Anniversary of the United States Marines.

A couple mornings ago, when I visited the San Diego City Administration Building’s lobby, I noticed a large brass plaque in a glass display case against the east wall. The shining badge-like plaque is several feet in length.

Upon closer inspection, I read the words:

Marine Corps Recruit Depot
San Diego, California
Department of the Navy
United States Marine Corps
Presented to City of San Diego
by the
Officers and Enlisted Personnel
Marine Corps Recruit Depot
on 10 November 1975
The 200th Anniversary of the Corps

A smaller descriptive plaque on top of the display case reads: “This plaque is made from brass shell cases of ammunition fired by Marines in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.”

I’ve searched the internet for information regarding this fantastic Marine Corps Recruit Depot plaque, but have found nothing.

Does anyone know its history?

Where was it made? Was it presented to the City of San Diego back in 1975 during a special ceremony? Has it always been on display inside City Hall?

Please leave a comment if you have any additional information!

A closer photo of the shining brass plaque, which is on display inside the lobby of the San Diego City Administration Building.
A closer photo of the shining brass plaque, which is on display inside the lobby of the San Diego City Administration Building.

(Another amazing Bicentennial Plaque–one presented to San Diego by the United States Navy–can be seen on the Embarcadero near the USS Midway Museum. To read a fascinating article about the origin of that historic bronze plaque, and see photos of its forging, click here!)