Replica WWII incarceration barrack at Central Library.

Just inside the entrance to the Central Library in downtown San Diego stands a life-size model barrack. It accurately replicates barracks that were used to incarcerate Japanese-Americans during World War II.

The model barrack was built by Frank Wada, who was sent to the Poston “Relocation Center” in Arizona, before being released to fight in the war. He was ultimately awarded a Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

In 1942 ten prison camps were built in the United States to incarcerate those with Japanese ancestry. About 120,000 people were imprisoned in these camps. The model barrack shows what life was like for those who were forced to live away from their homes, with little comfort or privacy.

An exhibit in the Central Library’s 9th floor Art Gallery, titled Call to Serve: Clara E. Breed and the Japanese American Incarceration, is on view through January 30, 2022. It documents how San Diego city librarian Clara Estelle Breed was an active opponent of Executive Order 9066, the internment policy instituted by President Franklin Roosevelt in February 1942.

On Saturday afternoon I rode the elevator up to the library’s rooftop to see the exhibition, but for some reason the Art Gallery was closed. I’ll try again in the 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!

Quiet beauty at Maxton Brown Park in Carlsbad.

A small but very beautiful public park can be enjoyed in Carlsbad at the corner of Laguna Drive and State Street.

Maxton Brown Park is a quiet place. One can sit on a bench to read a book or gaze out at Buena Vista Lagoon.

During my recent walk in Carlsbad I rested on one bench that had a view of the lagoon. It was very peaceful.

I then briefly explored the park and found several memorial plaques that honor loved ones.

Here are a few photos…

The above plaque overlooking the lagoon reads:

LT. MAXTON BROWN PARK

515th SQDN

MARCH 5, 1915 – JULY 8, 1943

BUENA VISTA LAGOON CONSERVATOR

AMERICAN LEGION POST 146 MARCH 5, 1976

I did a little searching on the internet and learned that during World War II, on July 8, 1943, 2nd Lieutenant Maxton Brown of Carlsbad was downed over Sicily. He flew with the 515th Bomb Squadron.

The Buena Vista Lagoon is home of the Maxton Brown Bird Sanctuary. According to this page of the Carlsbad Historical Society, prior to the war Maxton “spent many hours at the lagoon sighting and recording over 150 species of birds.”

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!

Celebration of Memorial Day by the USS Midway.

Around noon today there was a unique outdoor celebration of Memorial Day in downtown San Diego. The spectacle could be viewed in San Diego Bay and the sky above the USS Midway Museum!

A small crowd that had gathered by the iconic “Kiss” statue saw a Harbor Police patrol boat water cannon salute and a parade of personal watercraft arriving from across the bay bearing large American flags.

Then, after the patriotic parade had gathered in the water between the USS Midway and The Greatest Generation Walk, four vintage World War II aircraft belonging to Air Group One of the Commemorative Air Force flew twice overhead, and departed with the missing man formation.

Much of the event was at a distance from where I stood, but my small camera managed to get a few good photographs…

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 old cars, planes spotted in El Cajon!

During my walk through El Cajon yesterday, I spotted a some cool old cars and airplanes!

The cars were on a couple of electrical boxes! This fading street art, on Main Street just west of Sunshine Plaza, is filled with all sorts of colorful hot rods and custom cars, racing imagery and even a tribute to Route 66.

I suppose this art was painted to celebrate the Cajon Classic Cruise weekly car show on Main Street at Magnolia, near the El Cajon landmark archway. It might also refer to the Cajon Speedway, a race track that used to exist north of here, near the Gillespie Field airport.

You can see the El Cajon landmark sign a couple blocks to the east…

A couple blocks farther east, at the Prescott Promenade park near El Cajon’s Civic Center, I spotted a couple of banners that celebrate old Cajon Speedway…

Finally, check out what I first heard, then spotted high in the sky as I was walking along Main Street!

Six restored World War II-era planes belonging to Air Group One, which is the San Diego Wing of the Commemorative Air Force, were flying in a tight formation!

Air Group One flies out of El Cajon’s Gillespie Field. (I often spot their vintage planes flying over the USS Midway Museum in downtown 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!

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!

Quarantine dreams and COVID-19 war posters.

Quarantine Dreams mural in La Jolla. When quarantined due to coronavirus, you can't travel, dine, date, surf, play sports, or even play outside with the dog. Hang in there!
Quarantine Dreams mural in La Jolla. When quarantined due to the novel coronavirus, you can’t travel, dine, date, surf, play sports, or even play catch outside with the dog. Hang in there!

The coronavirus pandemic is no laughing matter. But I cracked a smile when I discovered a gently humorous mural and amusing “war posters” pertaining to COVID-19 in La Jolla.

I spied the mural, titled Quarantine Dreams, at the entrance to an alley off Pearl Street. The artwork speaks for itself!

The posters, some of which were done in the distinctive World War II style, are on display in the windows of Copy Cove on Pearl Street. The posters offer helpful advice for fighting the invisible enemy, COVID-19. (I believe you can purchase the posters at this shop.)

Enjoy!

Don't hoard rolls! Eat less chili. Flatten the curve! Support our healthcare heroes. Don't be a burden. Don't do stupid sh*t.
Don’t hoard rolls! Eat less chili. Flatten the curve! Support our healthcare heroes. Don’t be a burden. Don’t do stupid sh*t.

Buy takeout. Touch your face, lose the race. The enemy win when you touch your face.
Buy takeout. Touch your face, lose the race. The enemy win when you touch your face.

A dirty phone is a danger zone! Damnit! Wash your hands. Victory at home starts with a good scrub!
A dirty phone is a danger zone! Damnit! Wash your hands. Victory at home starts with a good scrub!

Good fellows use elbows. Keep the nation fighting fit! Stay back, Jack! Use air fist bumps.
Good fellows use elbows. Keep the nation fighting fit! Stay back, Jack! Use air fist bumps.

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 and a little history in Linda Vista.

I walked through Linda Vista yesterday, up Linda Vista Road from Comstock Street to Genesee Avenue. I discovered great examples of street art and some fascinating local history!

Linda Vista is an old San Diego neighborhood whose origin is tied to World War II. According to Wikipedia: “Many of the homes in Linda Vista were built in 1940-41 as part of a government project to house aircraft workers for the war effort. A construction project that was assisted by Reuben H. Fleet beginning in October 1941 resulted in 3,001 houses built within 200 days.”

One of the first shopping malls ever built in the United States was built in this community. As I walked up Linda Vista Road past the Sieu Thi Thuan Phat Supermarket, I came upon a bronze plaque that describes that history.

Today, as you can see from my photographs, many who live in Linda Vista have an Asian heritage.

The plaque reads:

THIS SITE WAS THE LOCATION OF ONE OF
THE FIRST PLANNED SHOPPING CENTERS
IN THE UNITED STATES

The Linda Vista area was developed as a government
housing project for aircraft and shipyard defense
workers during World War II. The original shopping
center was built to serve the residents and was
dedicated in 1942 by Eleanor Roosevelt. Demolition of
the original shopping center occurred in 1972.

LINDA VISTA COMMUNITY
DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, 2009

Above is the photo of a beautiful mural by local artist Gloria Muriel, spray painted on the wall of Hot Wash Coin Laundry. Love and Respect.

There’s a tragic phenomenon in the large cities of California that I rarely photograph. In Linda Vista, as in most of San Diego, drugs and homelessness are now encountered everywhere one walks.

A heartbreaking photo.

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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!

A WWII paratrooper and his 2019 Normandy jump.

Tom Rice smiles after a brief speech at the 2019 Spirit of '45 Celebration at The Veterans Museum at Balboa Park.
Tom Rice smiles after a brief speech at the 2019 Spirit of ’45 Celebration at The Veterans Museum at Balboa Park.

Today I listened to a few words that were spoken by Tom Rice, a 97-year-old member of the Greatest Generation. He spoke during the annual Spirit of ’45 Celebration at The Veterans Museum at Balboa Park. He came up to the podium and told the audience about his experiences.

In the dark, very early morning of D-Day, 75 years ago, Tom parachuted behind Nazi lines with other brave soldiers of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division, to pave the way for the invasion and liberation of Europe. In 2019 he parachuted into Normandy again, to honor other World War II veterans, many of whom are no longer with us.

He remembered his deeds with humility.

I learned that a film will soon be released that features Tom Rice’s anniversary jump. Libertas, which is the title of the Normandy Jump 2019 documentary, will be pre-screened on August 17 & 18, 2019, at the Vintage Village Theatre in Coronado, California. After the screening there will be a panel discussion with the film director, producer, and Tom.

Money raised through ticket sales will be used by Honor Flight for their Fall 2019 Tour of Honor, which will send World War II and Korean War veterans to Washington, D.C. so they can see their memorials. There are over 100 San Diego veterans on the waiting list.

Should you pre-order the DVD, use the code “Honor Flight” at check-out and $5 will go to help make the Tour of Honor possible.

To learn how you can buy a ticket for the special pre-screening of Libertas, or if you’d like to order the DVD, please visit this website.

I know some of this blog’s followers are in the local military community. Spread the word!

If you’d like to donate to Honor Flight San Diego, click here!

A look inside the Portuguese Historical Center.

Anyone interested in the rich history of the Portuguese community in San Diego should visit the Portuguese Historical Center in Point Loma. It’s located at 2831 Avenida de Portugal, in a neighborhood that was home to many immigrant fishermen who came from the Azores, Madeira, and the mainland of Portugal, back in the days when tuna fishing was a major industry in our city.

I took a look inside the center yesterday during the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s 2019 OPEN HOUSE SAN DIEGO.

Every corner of the small museum is jam-packed with history. Shelves are brimming with Portuguese cultural artifacts, and there are photos of notable people, places and events. I saw many references to Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, the Portuguese explorer who discovered San Diego Bay in 1542 on behalf of Spain.

A recently opened exhibit in the Portuguese Historical Center remembers those in the local Portuguese community who have served their country. During World War II, San Diego’s many Tuna Clippers were converted into patrol and supply boats that served the United States military throughout the Pacific Ocean theater. You can learn much more about that fascinating aspect of San Diego history here.

When I visited yesterday, the centerpiece of the museum was a stunning dress worn by the 2018 Festa Queen. The traditional Festa do Espírito Santo is celebrated each year by the community at the nearby U.P.S.E.S. Chapel and community hall. Festa is a Catholic celebration of Pentecost Sunday. During the colorful event a religious procession makes its way several blocks up Avenida de Portugal to St. Agnes Catholic Church.

In front of the Portuguese Historical Center, a shining Tuna Fishing Industry Monument is inscribed with the names of loved ones who’ve become a part of local history. Members of the Portuguese Historical Center also maintain the Tunaman’s Memorial on Shelter Island. You can see photos of that iconic memorial here.

Please enjoy this quick look . . .

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