Memorial Day flowers in Balboa Park.

After my visit to La Mesa today, I found myself in Balboa Park for another Sunday afternoon walk.

I kept looking right and left for an indication that this is Memorial Day weekend. I had to go to the Veterans Museum and Memorial Center to find it.

Even though the museum was closed when I walked past, I noticed fresh flowers and a wreath had been placed at its outdoor San Diego Vietnam Veterans Peace Memorial.

Those who fought and died in that terrible war are still remembered.

If you’d like to see photos of an emotional Memorial Day ceremony that was held at the San Diego Peace Memorial four years ago, click 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!

A sidewalk Memorial Day thank you.

It’s Memorial Day weekend. I saw this on the sidewalk today while walking through downtown La Mesa. Somebody created a small tribute with chalk, fresh flowers and green leaves. Spelled inside a heart is Thank You. All gave some and some gave all.

I thought I’d share the photo. And add my own Thank You to all those who’ve sacrificed defending the freedoms we might sometimes take for granted.

(Why was I in La Mesa? To climb the Secret Stairs! I’ll blog about that experience sometime later this week!)

Take care everybody.

A hidden Memorial Day plaque in Balboa Park.

A plaque that was dedicated on May 30, 1939 can be found in a seldom seen nook in Balboa Park.

At the rear of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, behind the large bronze tablet that honors Ernestine Schumann-Heink, a small memorial plaque is set in the wall at the rear of a fountain.

The plaque appears to have been placed there by the American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary. But I can find absolutely nothing concerning it on the internet.

The plaque reads:

MEMORIAL
FLANDER’S POPPIES
DEDICATED TO THOSE WHO
REST IN FLANDERS FIELD
CITY SERVICE POST AND UNIT 537
MAY 30, 1939 A.D.

Flanders Fields poppies are often associated with May 30, or Memorial Day, which in earlier times was known as Decoration Day. Red poppies that grew over the graves of fallen soldiers in World War I resulted in Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae’s poem In Flanders Fields, and, later, the internationally recognized remembrance poppy.

The American Legion adopted the poppy as their official symbol of remembrance in 1920.

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!

Memories of past Veterans Days in San Diego.

I would like to express my appreciation to all Veterans who have served to defend our Freedom.

Thank you.

I don’t believe there were many Veterans Day events around San Diego this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic situation. So I thought it might be a good idea to link to a few old blog posts that feature photographs from past years.

You will see men and women who made sacrifices for you and me.

To see photographs from past Veterans Day events in San Diego, click the following links:

Historical reenactment on Veterans Day in Balboa Park.

Bells of Peace ring on a special Veterans Day!

Faces tell stories at Veterans Day parade.

Photos of the San Diego Veterans Day Parade!

Veteran’s Day celebrated in Balboa Park.

If you’d like to create a virtual tribute to a Veteran who is deceased, you can learn how to do so here.

Letters Home: A fallen soldier and a memorial.

I’ve photographed many monuments that remember those who’ve fallen in war.

At the Veterans Memorial in Vista, California, the powerful monument to one particular soldier can easily bring you to tears.

Please look at the following images, read the two random letters that I photographed leading to the sculpture, then the plaque that describes the life and death of a young person who simply wanted to serve. Click those photos and they will enlarge for easier reading.

Veterans Memorial Park was created by the Pinamonti family to honor Ernie, son and brother, who was killed in the Vietnam War.

Sculpture at Veterans Memorial, by artist Rip Caswell, 2016.
Sculpture at Veterans Memorial, by artist Rip Caswell, 2016.

Dear Family, Today we are starting our first day of training...Mail call is the best part of the day and I really look forward to it...I miss everyone a great deal and I read the letters over and over. Sincerely, Ernie
Dear Family, Today we are starting our first day of training…Mail call is the best part of the day and I really look forward to it…I miss everyone a great deal and I read the letters over and over. Sincerely, Ernie

Dear Ernie...If there is anything you need, just ask and we will send it to you...Remember to write every couple days so I don't worry about you. Be good and take care of yourself. I miss you. Love, Mother
Dear Ernie…If there is anything you need, just ask and we will send it to you…Remember to write every couple days so I don’t worry about you. Be good and take care of yourself. I miss you. Love, Mother

Flag flies above Veterans Memorial Park in Vista, California.
Flag flies above Veterans Memorial Park in Vista, California.

On May 15, 1969, our family was forever changed by the knock on the front door that brought news that our 19 year old brother, Ernie, had died of wounds received while assisting a fellow soldier...
On May 15, 1969, our family was forever changed by the knock on the front door that brought news that our 19 year old brother, Ernie, had died of wounds received while assisting a fellow soldier…

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 photographs.

Bust of a San Diego Air Force hero.

The beautifully sculpted commemorative bust of San Diego resident, retired Brigadier General Robert L. Cardenas, USAF occupies a place of honor in Balboa Park. The bust can be found in the Veterans Memorial Garden, a short walk from the entrance to the The Veterans Museum at Balboa Park.

I was on hand to observe the sculpture’s unveiling almost six years ago. The ceremony was held during a Spirit of ’45 event that honored heroes of World War II. To see that inspirational blog post, click here.

I’ve decided to post photographs of the Cardenas bust today because it’s Memorial Day–one of those days when we express our gratitude to all military service members. And because I posted photos of another sculpture by the same artist a couple days ago.

San Diego sculptor Richard Becker also created Liberation, a statue at Miramar National Cemetery. That bronze sculpture remembers and honors Prisoners of War. You can see the emotionally powerful Liberation here.

Brigadier General Robert L. Cardenas, USAF has a list of achievements and awards a mile long. Please read his Wikipedia page here. You’ll learn that in World War II, after he was shot down during a mission over Germany, he swam across a lake into Switzerland to escape capture, then rejoined the fight. You’ll also learn that years later, from a B-29 Superfortress that he piloted, he dropped the experimental supersonic X-1 aircraft flown by Chuck Yeager, who broke the sound barrier.

Behind the bust of Robert Cardenas you can see a sculpture of a B-24 Liberator bomber from World War II. It’s the plane that Robert Cardenas flew during the Second World War.

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!

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!

Holiday wreaths remember Greatest Generation.

Four wreaths of remembrance have been placed at the Battle of Leyte Gulf Memorial near the USS Midway Museum.
Four wreaths of remembrance have been placed at the Battle of Leyte Gulf Memorial, not far from the USS Midway Museum.

I was heading along the Greatest Generation Walk this morning when my eyes were surprised by bright color at the Battle of Leyte Gulf Memorial.

I discovered that four wreaths of remembrance had been recently placed on either side of the bust of Vice Admiral Clifton Sprague. Two were traditional holiday wreaths. It’s now less than two weeks before Christmas.

The image was so striking, and so thought-provoking, I thought I’d share a few photos.

The Battle of Leyte Gulf was a desperate naval battle in the Pacific Ocean theater during World War II. Few who fought there are still living.

Two of the wreaths say We Remember.

The other two offer hope.

We Remember Task Unit 77.4.3
We Remember Task Unit 77.4.3

The bust of Vice Admiral Clifton Sprague, and two holiday wreaths, on The Greatest Generation Walk in San Diego.
The bust of Vice Admiral Clifton Sprague and two colorful holiday wreaths on The Greatest Generation Walk in 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!