Savannah celebrates the 4th . . . (photos)

I already posted a ton of photos from the Savannah Dance Festival flash mob performance on River Street on the 4th of July.

Later today, I’ll do a post about some of the live music I caught that day, including Velvet Caravan at B. Matthew’s Eatery, The Train Wrecks at Molly McPherson’s, and the Hairy Chest Fest at Taco Abajo.

So in this post, just a few pics of some of the other goings-on. It was a hot afternoon, but Ellis Square was bustling and the interactive fountain was filled with ecstatic children.

I’ve got a few shots here of the World War II memorial on River Street. It’s a shame that it’s so close to the ugliness of the Hyatt, but it’s a pretty great spot for it (some will recall the controversy over the location). The sheer scale of the memorial works well on River Street, and the names of the deceased are easy to read and to find.

It may not look obvious in the photos here, but I was in the monument with a handful of young Latino adults. They spotted one name that just might be the only Latino one: Pedro Abenoja Estacapio, a member of the Coast Guard. According to public records, his wife lived at 142 Montgomery Street, right downtown. [UPDATE 1/25/15: A relative of Estacapio tells me that he was born in the Philippines and was not Latino.]

From the city of Savannah website:

The Atlantic claimed Chatham County’s only battle-related Coast Guard fatality,
Officer’s Steward 2c Pedro Abenoja Estocapio. Estocapio went down with the
USCG Cutter Escanaba (WPG-77) on June 13, 1943. The Escanaba was
originally designed for ice breaking, law enforcement and rescue work. With the
outbreak of war in Europe, the Escanaba, like many Coast Guard vessels, was
reassigned to perform wartime duty and fitted with additional armament and
crew. The Escanaba was first sent to Greenland on patrol and then assigned to
convoy merchant ships in the North Atlantic Ocean. The crew of the Escanaba
was the first to utilize rescue swimmers dressed in rubber survival suits to pull
victims from cold waters. On a convoy sailing from Narsarssuak, Greenland to
St. John’s, Newfoundland, the Escanaba apparently struck a drifting mine. The
other ships in her convoy did not hear an explosion, and only three minutes after
noticing smoke coming from the Escanaba, the ship had sunk underwater,
without even signaling for help. Of the 105-man crew, only two survivors and
one body were recovered. “It is likely that the sole reason that these two lived is
that their clothing froze to the strongback [floating debris], keeping them from
slipping into the water and sure death.” Estocapio’s body was never recovered
and his name joins thousands lost to the Atlantic in World War II on the East
Coast Memorial in New York City.

Three uncles of mine — Jack, Bob, and Tom — fought in World War II. They all made it home, but are all now deceased.

Maybe I’m just getting too old to appreciate fireworks, but the River Street show — which I watched with a couple of friends from Factors Walk — was a little disappointing. Or maybe I’d just had too good of a day to that point. The crowds seemed thinner than I remember — maybe the heat, maybe the midweek holiday, maybe folks just tired of downtown parking hassles.

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