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…

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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!

Faces of the USS Midway Remembrance Wall.

Real people, like you and me.
Real people, like you and me.

In this crazy world, during our busy and stressful lives, it can be easy to forget just how fortunate we are. To take Freedom for granted.

This morning I was reminded that some take an oath to defend that Freedom.

After attending the Memorial Day weekend Wreath Ceremony on the flight deck of the USS Midway, I headed down to the museum’s hangar deck. I wanted to see the Remembrance Wall.

I saw the smiling faces of family and friends and neighbors.

They won’t be forgotten.

A wreath for Memorial Day weekend. USS Midway Museum Remembrance Wall. Honoring our Fallen Heroes and Gold Star Families.
A wreath for Memorial Day weekend. USS Midway Museum Remembrance Wall. Honoring our Fallen Heroes and Gold Star Families.
Many faces.
Many faces.

Thank you for your service.
Thank you for your service.

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!

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!

Freedom Bell at Balboa Park’s Veterans Museum.

America's Freedom Bell.
America’s Freedom Bell.

A powerful symbol of human liberty has found a home in San Diego!

America’s Freedom Bell, a project of The Spirit of Liberty Foundation, will now be displayed inside The Veterans Museum at Balboa Park when it’s not travelling around the nation. The bell arrived several days ago, and can now be seen by the public!

America’s Freedom Bell was cast in 2013 on the 69th Anniversary of D-Day. It’s made from 330 pounds of bronze, and 10 pounds of steel from the World Trade Center towers that fell during the September 11 attack in New York. The bell features the emblem of each branch of the United States Armed Forces and is inscribed with the words: HONORING OUR ARMED FORCES PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE.

Since the Freedom Bell’s creation, over 5 million Americans have rung it to honor a loved one who has served to protect our precious freedom.

Visitors walk up the front steps of the Veterans Museum and Memorial Center in Balboa Park.
Visitors walk up the front steps of the Veterans Museum and Memorial Center in Balboa Park.
America's Freedom Bell has found a new home inside San Diego's beautiful Veterans Museum, which used to be the San Diego Naval Hospital Chapel.
America’s Freedom Bell has found a new home inside San Diego’s beautiful Veterans Museum, which years ago was the San Diego Naval Hospital’s chapel.
The Freedom Bell honors America's heroes from all branches of the military. The bell was cast from metal from the Twin Towers that fell on 9/11.
The Freedom Bell honors America’s heroes from all branches of the military. The bell was cast from metal from the Twin Towers that fell on 9/11.
A mural on one wall in the Veterans Museum shows The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
A mural on one wall in the Veterans Museum shows The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
A nearby bronze sculpture by Don Schloat, made from his personal experience in World War II. Palawan: U.S. POW Martyr.
A bronze sculpture in the museum by Don Schloat, made from his personal experience in World War II. Palawan: U.S. POW Martyr.
First U.S. Flag to Fall in the Philippines. Baguio, 1942. A symbol of freedom.
First U.S. Flag to Fall in the Philippines. Baguio, 1942. A symbol of freedom.
The worn boot of one who fought for liberty.
The worn boot of one who fought for liberty is displayed in the museum, not far from the bell.
HONORING OUR ARMED FORCES PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE
HONORING OUR ARMED FORCES PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE

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!

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.

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!