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Blue Star Voices

San Diego, CA

The Launch: Blue Star Museums in San Diego

A military child examines a Rembrandt at The Timken in San Diego. Photo by Regina Galvin

I scanned the crowd gathered at the steps of the San Diego Museum of Art and thought what an eclectic bunch. I saw our wonderful military families and our supportive friends in the Arts community and the San Diego Mayor’s office. We were all there at Balboa Park for the launch of the 2011 Blue Star Museums program. On the unseasonably chilly, overcast day, dignitaries spoke, babies squirmed, camera crews filmed.

It went off without a hitch and after 20 minutes of remarks, military families and other VIPs dispersed to tour The Museum of Man, The Timken, and the Japanese Friendship Garden of San Diego in their respective groups.

I was with the group that toured the Timken. I watched silently as Army Sgt. Ulises Vasquez admired a Rembrandt. Next to the soldier was a little guy from a Marine family who might have been the pride of his kindergarten class. He looked back at his mom with wide eyes and wonderment. I probably shared the boy’s expression as I looked at him. I thought the kids would be restless in this fabulous museum of Great Masters---the stroller-riders among the group perhaps, but not this fellow. His mother told me later that he told her, “We definitely need to come back here!”

Later at the reception, I got a kiss from Tristan, age 4, when I asked him if he had a good time. His dad, Petty Officer Jesse Schuler, and little brother Ashton, age 2, told me they had a great time and from the looks of it, the cookies were well-received also.

We had a three-star and a two-star general in attendance and we had young military families just beginning their careers. We had military wives there who had taken time off from work and brought their kids from school to support Blue Star Families and the Blue Star Museums program in particular.

I looked around and felt gratitude. I am grateful to be a part of our collective military family. I am grateful that the National Endowment for the Arts and the Arts community recognizes the service and sacrifices of those in the military and feels that this program is worth it.

And I am especially grateful to have witnessed the moment when a little guy with a high-and-tight haircut first learned to appreciate great works of art.

This post originally appeared on the Blue Star Families blog. Please visit the Blue Star Museum website for more information about the program and to find participating museums.

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