Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Last year, at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park’s annual Fourth of July celebration, diverse people from our community joined together on stage to read parts of the Declaration of Independence.

People from all walks of life, converging from different places, each with their own unique struggles, ambitions and experiences, remembered some of the enduring principles that underlie a free society.

During the event, anyone in the crowd was invited to come up onto the stage to read, and many did.

Of all the photos I took at the event, the above photograph to me is the most powerful.

Even with all of our human differences–the millions of unique personal beliefs and desires that frequently conflict–there are high ideals that are cherished by one and all.

We all want to live. We all want to be free. We all seek happiness.

Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Create a virtual tribute to a deceased Veteran.

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.

Are you a relative or friend of a deceased military Veteran? Are you grateful to someone who served in the United States Armed Forces who is no longer with us?

On this Memorial Day–or on any day–you can create a virtual tribute to those who chose to protect our nation and our freedom.

The online Veterans Legacy Memorial (VLM) now allows visitors to leave a comment on a Veteran’s memorial page.

According to the Veterans Legacy Memorial website, which is an extension of the National Cemetery Administration: “NCA manages more than 140 national cemeteries as shrine spaces to honor our Nation’s Veterans, and extends memorialization of the 3.7 million Veterans interred in those cemeteries to this digital memorial space by providing a VLM profile page for each Veteran.”

If you would like to create a virtual tribute to a deserving hero, a digital tribute that might endure forever, click here.

POW memorial at Miramar National Cemetery.

Tomorrow is Memorial Day. We will remember and honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in past wars.

Yesterday I visited Miramar National Cemetery. I paused before a moving statue titled Liberation. The 15-foot tall monument was created by San Diego artist Richard Becker. It’s a memorial to Prisoners of War, who also sacrificed greatly.

The bronze statue shows a prisoner liberated, breaking free from surrounding barbed wire. The extraordinarily expressive artwork speaks for itself.

I thought you might like to see it.

If you’d like to see more work by renowned local sculptor Richard Becker, you can revisit past blog posts here or here or here or here.

The plaque on the base of Liberation reads:

This statue conveys the excitement, trepidation, exhilaration and emotion of the LIBERATION moment, as the emaciated soldier steps out of the darkness into the “Sunshine of Freedom.”

He portrays the hundreds of thousands who were bound in captivity by the infamy of foreign enemies.

This is to stand as an eternal legacy for our community by reminding visitors of the sacrifice of veterans during America’s efforts to keep alive the hopes and dreams of freedom for the oppressed around the world.

American-Ex Prisoners of War, Chapter One, San Diego.

Artist: Richard Becker.

Dedicated: 2011.

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!

A live stream event celebrating 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.
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.

This coming Memorial Day will be very different. The coronavirus pandemic has caused public events around San Diego to be cancelled.

But I’ve learned there will be a live stream over the internet that celebrates Memorial Day this year, and the virtual event will feature four locations: the USS Midway Museum, Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetery, Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial, and Miramar National Cemetery. Those who perished serving in the United States Armed Forces will be honored and remembered.

If you’d like to learn more, or view the live stream online this Memorial Day starting at 9 am click here!

Pacific Beach Fire Station’s 9/11 Memorial.

Standing next to Pacific Beach Fire Station 21, at the west end of Grand Avenue, you’ll find a 9/11 Memorial.

There are images, words, selfless heroes, lost lives.

Never 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 of the U.S. Olympic Race Walk Trials!

Some of the world’s top race walkers competed in Santee this morning! The U.S. Olympic 50km Race Walk Trials and ASATF National Women’s and Masters 50km Race Walk Championships were contested on a course near the Santee Town Center trolley station!

Racing the 1250 meter loop course were several amazing local athletes, past National Champions, the past World Record holder at this distance, Erin Taylor-Talcott, and the always smiling 74-year-old multiple record holder Darlene Backlund!

While the 50km race (that’s longer than a marathon!) was well underway, I watched as elite invitational 20km and 10km racers started their competition on the same course.

In these photos you can see how the morning fog eventually lifted and the Southern California sunshine cast its light on some our nation’s most dedicated, toughest athletes. You can see how the faces of many race walkers also shined!

I left before the races concluded. To me, every participant I observed was victorious.

The 2020 U.S. Olympic Team will be competing this summer in Sapporo, Japan.

Go TEAM USA!

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!

How to celebrate National Fish Taco Day.

Tomorrow, January 25, is National Fish Taco Day. And everyone knows San Diego has the very best fish tacos!

So, how exactly does one celebrate?

This is how:

Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum!

Yes, I celebrated one day early. I might celebrate tomorrow, too.

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!

Street art near San Ysidro border crossing!

Should you ever walk through San Ysidro, a short distance north of the border crossing between San Diego and Tijuana, you’ll notice lots of colorful street art! Much of of the artwork celebrates Mexican culture, depicting kids with piñatas, vaqueros, mariachis, baile folklórico dancers, Aztec and Día de los Muertos imagery, and a whole variety of festive scenes.

I enjoyed a long walk from the San Ysidro/Tijuana Transit Center over the long pedestrian bridge that overlooks the busy Port of Entry, and west down Camino de la Plaza near Las Americas Premium Outlets. I then retraced my steps and headed north up San Ysidro Boulevard.

I noticed that much of the street art on electrical boxes, which has become faded over time, was painted by Gerardo Meza. I also saw some street lamp banners sponsored by the Border Public Art Committee featuring images by the same artist.

And look at the funny mural that I spotted! A shopper with a clown nose has money flying out of her purse!

San Ysidro is always bustling with humanity. The gritty streets and sidewalks hum with activity, as tourists, shoppers, workers and commuters head north and south at all hours. The nearby San Ysidro Port of Entry is the busiest land border crossing in the Western Hemisphere!

IMG_6410z

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!

Flagpole and historic plaque at Marston Point.

I took a walk early yesterday morning. I headed from downtown San Diego up Sixth Avenue to Marston Point, which is located in the southwest corner of Balboa Park.

Near the south end of Marston Point, a flag flies at the center of a parking lot that overlooks the city. At the base of the 80-foot flagpole there’s an historic plaque. It reads:

ERECTED
BY THE
FREE AND ACCEPTED
MASONS
OF SAN DIEGO COUNTY

IN COMMEMORATION OF
THE ADOPTION OF THE
UNITED STATES FLAG
1777 JUNE 14TH 1927

A second, smaller plaque reads:

REDEDICATED
JUNE 15, 1947

According to what I found on the San Diego History Center website here, the Masons’ flagpole dedication was celebrated with a big parade.

Today the flag remains a landmark seen by thousands every day.

Early yesterday morning, as I arrived at the flagpole and empty parking lot, the rising sun was coloring beautiful clouds.

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Remembering the September 11 attacks.

A piece of the fallen World Trade Center.
A piece of the fallen World Trade Center.

It’s hard to believe 18 years has gone by. To me, the morning of September 11, 2001 doesn’t seem that long ago. Even though I observed the horror of 9/11 on television from the other side of the country, it’s one of those life changing memories that will never fade.

I realize the human world is full of tumult and antagonism, but I pray we all might finally learn to live in peace. Life is short enough as it is. Even though our many different ambitions and beliefs might come into conflict, why can’t we simply be kind to one another?

Over the past six years while blogging, I’ve experienced a few respectful moments in San Diego that remember the September 11 attacks. Each was deeply moving. If you want to revisit some of those images, here are the links:

9/11 Firefighter’s legacy: Two Sons and Stickball.

Freedom Bell at Balboa Park’s Veterans Museum. (The bell is cast from metal that includes steel from the World Trade Center towers.)

Photos of cool aviation event at Gillespie Field! (One special airplane on display during this event was painted to honor victims of 9/11.)

Heroes at San Diego 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb.