Guest post by Marine Corps veteran Bill Cook.
Bill is the Chairman of the Orange County Veterans Memorial Park Foundation, and helped lead the successful effort by Orange County veterans to establish a 125-acre veterans cemetery in Irvine on the former El Toro Marine Base.
This June, the good citizens of Irvine will decide whether to fulfill a promise to honor the service and sacrifice of U.S. veterans with a cemetery on the former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro.
A “YES” vote on the cemetery referendum means there will be a veterans cemetery.
A “no” means the promise will be broken. If the nay-sayers prevail, there likely will never be a final resting place for veterans in Orange County, and certainly not in Irvine.
Let me be blunt: The June 5 vote is NOT an “either/or” vote on the location of a veterans cemetery, but rather a “yes/no” vote on whether there will ever be such a cemetery at the former El Toro Marine Base.
There is only one cemetery site. It’s on former MCAS El Toro land near the 405 and 5 convergence that’s known as the Strawberry Fields.
It’s been approved by the city of Irvine and the state of California, including the governor, the legislature and the CalVet.
It is supported by every legitimate local and national veterans organization, including the American Legion, American Legion Auxiliary, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Marine Corps League, American G.I. Forum, the Vietnam Veterans of America, and the 40 & 8 (an independent, by invitation, honor society of American veterans).
It is also supported by the Orange County Central Committees of the both the Democratic and the Republican parties.
Only two elected representatives — Councilmembers Jeff Lalloway and Lynn Schott, are against it. They also voted against holding a special election on June 5. I believe that’s because they know that a majority of voters will support veterans and those who want a Veterans Cemetery in the city.
So for those who want a Veterans Cemetery in the city, VOTE YES.
For those who don’t, vote no.
After all, that’s your right as an American — one of the many rights veterans served, fought and died to protect.
Bill Cook, USMC, ret.
For more information about the Veterans Cemetery, see: