Orange County Veterans Deserve a Military Cemetery

Iwo Jima. Irvine Commissioner Melissa Fox. melissafoxblog.com.

Orange County has a long and proud military tradition. Currently, more than two million veterans live in California – more than in any other state.  This military tradition continues into the present, as nearly 7,000 veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars live in Orange County.

Yet Orange County veterans do not have their own official military cemetery and those in Orange County who want to visit a veteran’s grave in a national cemetery must travel to Riverside, San Diego or Los Angeles counties.

A bill recently introduced in the California Assembly by Sharon Quirk-Silva (AD 65), Chair of the Veterans Affairs Committee, would remedy this problem by creating a state-owned and state-operated veterans cemetery in Orange County.

As the daughter of an Orange County Korean War combat veteran, I strongly support this bill.  It is time that Orange County offered its veterans – who have sacrificed so much for us – a final resting place close to their families and loved ones.

Furthermore, as an Irvine resident, I believe that a portion of the Great Park in Irvine, which was once the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station, would be an altogether fitting and proper location for this Orange County Veterans Cemetery, as well as a lasting memorial to the Great Park’s military heritage.

For these reasons, I have written a letter to Irvine Mayor Steven Choi and the Members of the Irvine City Council, as well as to Irvine’s two Assembly Members, Allan Mansoor (AD 74) and Donald Wagner (AD 68), Irvine’s California State Senator Mimi Walters (SD 37), Senator Ben Hueso (SD 40), Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, and Senator Lou Correa (SD 34), Orange County member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, urging them to support the bill to create an Orange County Veterans Cemetery and, also, to locate this cemetery in a portion of the Great Park that was once the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station.

If you agree with me, please contact your representatives and the Irvine City Council and let them know that you believe that a cemetery should be established in a portion of the Great Park that was once the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station to serve and honor Orange County veterans.

Here is the letter I sent to Mayor Choi and the Irvine City Council:

March 5, 2014

City of Irvine
1 Civic Center Plaza
Irvine, CA 92625
City Council 1 Civic Center Plaza Irvine, CA 92625

RE: California Assembly Bill 1453

Dear Mayor Choi and Members of the Irvine City Council,

I am writing to urge you to support AB 1453, introduced by Assembly Member Sharon Quirk Silva (65th AD), Chair of the Veterans Affairs Committee, which would create a state-owned and state-operated veterans’ cemetery in Orange County, the state’s largest county with no dedicated burial ground for its combat veterans and other servicemen and women.

I am also writing to declare my support for locating this new veterans’ cemetery on land that was once the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS El Toro) and is now part of the Great Park in the City of Irvine.

Orange County has a long and proud military tradition. Currently, more than two million veterans live in California – more than in any other state. This military tradition continues into the present, as nearly 7,000 veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars live in Orange County.

Yet Orange County veterans do not have their own official military cemetery and those in Orange County who want to visit a veteran’s grave in a national cemetery must travel to Riverside, San Diego or Los Angeles counties.

It is time that Orange County offered its veterans – who have sacrificed so much for us – a final resting place close to their families and loved ones.

I believe that a portion of the Great Park in Irvine, which was once the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station, would be an altogether fitting and proper location for this Orange County Veterans Cemetery, as well as a lasting memorial to the Great Park’s military heritage.

As an Irvine resident and a member of the Irvine Community Services Commission – and as the daughter of an Orange County Korean War combat veteran – I urge you to support AB 1453 to create an Orange County Veterans Cemetery and, also, to locate this cemetery in a portion of the Great Park that was once the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station.

Sincerely,

MELISSA J. FOX, ESQ.