Patriotic Motif or Something Else?

During the same walk that I photographed Crepe Myrtle blossoms, on Aug. 25, 2021, a seemingly patriotic-painted utility box caught my attention at 54th and El Cajon Blvd. While I used iPhone XS to make several shots, a gentlemen coming down the sidewalk asked about my interest in the thing—surprised and maybe a bit amused. Easy explanation: Walking home from the dentist, I saw something interesting.

As I separated from him at brisk pace, because my wife waited for me several blocks farther along, he politely yelled: “Welcome to my neighborhood!” I turned back and thanked him with wave and smile. If only more people in San Diego were so friendly.

I composed four captures from different vantage points and chose the Featured Image because of the Grocery Outlet sign in the background. We shop at the market, although at a different location. Photo vitals: f/1.8, ISO 25, 1/3086 sec, 26mm; 11:09 a.m. PDT.

My question: Is the motif meant to be patriotic or something else? I ask because the red-paint dripping down the sides could be accidental or deliberate. If the latter, I keep thinking blood, which would convey a very different meaning. And, again, if the latter, was that gent being friendly or sarcastic? You tell me.