April 5th: “Go for Broke” Day — Honoring the Japanese Americans of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team

Continue reading

Join Me as Irvine Honors Our Fallen Heroes

“A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.” — President John F. Kennedy

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”  — President John F. Kennedy

Please join me this weekend as Irvine honors the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation.

Irvine has a long and proud military tradition. From 1942 to 1999, Irvine was home to Marine Air Station El Toro, the largest Marine Corps Air Station on the West Coast. During World War II, the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam War, thousands of United States Marines, as well as airmen, sailors and soldiers, departed for war from MCAS El Toro.

Many never returned.

As the daughter of a combat veteran and as an Irvine City Councilmember, I am proud that Irvine will honor our fallen heroes in two ceremonies this weekend:

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Candle Lighting Ceremony: Northwood Gratitude and Honor Memorial 

4531 Bryan Avenue, Irvine CA 92620

4:00 p.m.

Northwood memorialThe Northwood Gratitude and Honor Memorial, dedicated in 2010, is the nation’s first and only memorial dedicated exclusively to listing the names of all the fallen American service members in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The names of every service member who has died in Afghanistan and Iraq are engraved in granite in a permanent memorial, to assure that future generations of Americans will remember and honor them with gratitude as we do today.

The ceremony will honor our fallen heroes from all generations, with special tribute to those fallen heroes of the recent and ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  The candle lighting ceremony will also a dedication ceremony for the memorial expansion.  We will also hear from and honor Gold Star families. Please bring lawn chairs or blankets for seating.

Monday, May 39, 2017

Memorial Day Ceremony: Col. Bill Barber Marine Corps Memorial Park

4 Civic Center Plaza, Irvine CA 92606

10:00 a.m.

Col. Bill Barber Marine Corps Memorial Park, located next to City Hall, is named in honor of Korean War Medal of Honor recipient and Irvine resident Marine Corps Colonel William E. Barber (1919-2002).  Attendees will have the opportunity to memorialize our troops’ sacrifice by writing a brief remembrance to be posted on a memory board.  As I have done in past years, I will be filling out a memorial card for my cousin, PFC Irwin Handler, USMC, who was killed in Korea, and for the son of family friends, LCPL Donald J. Hogan, USMC, Navy Cross, who was killed in Afghanistan.

Cards will also be available for well-wishers to send a message of appreciation and support to Irvine’s adopted 211/Marine Battalion.

Click here to download a pre-made remembrance card.

As stated so beautifully and appropriately by the Veterans of Foreign Wars:

“Pausing to remember and honor America’s fallen service members is a practice dating back more than 100 years. Since the days of the Civil War, humble Americans have gathered together on Memorial Day to remember and pay tribute to all who have fought and selflessly surrendered the precious gift of life, so that other could live free.

Again we gather this Memorial Day, as a nation solemnly united in remembrance of the fallen defenders of our great nation. Freedom is not free. It has come at great cost, paid for with the lives of our sons and daughters, husbands and wives, sisters and brothers, friends and comrades.

Every American owes a great debt to the courageous men and women who have selflessly given their all to defend and protect our way of life. And while giving back to the extent they deserve is impossible, celebrating their memory and honoring their most selfless deeds offers a start.

This Memorial Day, pause to reflect on the absolute selflessness of the 1.3 million members of our nation’s military who paid the price needed to ensure our way of life endures, and let us not forget the families whose pain will never go away, but may lessen with our thanks and prayers.

God Bless our fallen, their families, and our men and women in uniform all over the world.”

My Busy — and Rewarding — Weekend!

rotary-04

The weekend of February 25-26 began early on Saturday morning, meeting up with Orange County Fire Authority Chief Greg McKeown and dozens of volunteers from OC Fire, OC Fire Explorers, the Irvine Police Department, Irvine Police Explorers, CERT, and the Red Cross to inspect and install smoke detectors for residents at The Groves, a resident-owned senior community in the Irvine. A total of 738 smoke alarms were installed in 349 homes free of charge by 87 volunteers!

Then I headed out to Harvard Community Athletic Park for the Opening Ceremony and a pancake breakfast fundraiser for Irvine PONY Baseball, which included a beautiful salute to the American flag led by Irvine Boy Scout Troop 645.

Next on my Saturday agenda was a visit to Mike Ward Community Park in Woodbridge to participate in the “OC Charity Dog Walk – Who Walks Who?,” sponsored by Irvine Rotary and the Rotaract UC Irvine. The event included dog photo booths, veterinarians, dog toys, an auction and dog contests — all to raise money for great causes. $6,500 was raised for local charities!

Councilmember Melissa Fox joins with Gold Star Mothers and other City Councilmembers at Northwood Gratitutde and Honor Memorial Expansion Ceremony

Irvine City Councilmember Melissa Fox joins with Gold Star Mothers and other City Councilmembers at Northwood Gratitutde and Honor Memorial Expansion Ceremony.

Then I stopped at the Islamic Center of Irvine to drop off a donation of lightly used shoes for Soles4Souls, a charity that aims to disrupt the cycle of poverty, create sustainable jobs, and provide relief through the distribution of shoes and clothing around the world.

On Sunday, I joined with Mayor Wagner, Mayor Pro Tem Lynn Schott and Councilmember Christina Shea, as well as Gold Star parents and other City officials, to take part in the groundbreaking ceremony of the expansion of the Irvine Nothwood Gratitude and Honor Memorial.
Located in Northwood Community Park, the Northwood Gratitude and Honor Memorial is the nation’s first memorial dedicated exclusively to listing the names of all the fallen American service members in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Last year, the Irvine Community Services Commission, of which I was then a member, recommended that the City add two new pillars to the site, extend the area of the plaza, install two new benches, and add a pedestal with the history of the Memorial. The City Council then unanimously approved the Commission’s recommendations.

“As a resident of Irvine and the daughter of a Korean War combat veteran, I am proud that Irvine continues to honor and express our gratitude to America’s fallen heroes,” I said. You can watch and hear all of my remarks here.

My favorite part of being an Irvine City Councilmember is representing our great City at community events.

Sometimes it is serious and solemn, like the Northwood Memorial expansion ceremony.

Sometimes it is just great fun and completely delightful, like the OC Charity Dog Walk and the PONY Base Opening Day ceremony.

But it is always rewarding, and it’s always an honor and a privilege to represent the City of Irvine and to meet with our residents and participate in the great things they’re doing.

Join Me on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, for the Northwood Gratitude and Honor Memorial Expansion Groundbreaking Ceremony

la-1464470357-snap-photo

Please join me this Sunday afternoon, February 26, 2017, for the Northwood Gratitude and Honor Memorial – Expansion Groundbreaking ceremony.

Irvine’s Northwood Gratitude and Honor Memorial, located in Northwood Community Park, is the nation’s first memorial dedicated exclusively to listing the names of all the fallen American service members in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The names of every service member who has died in Afghanistan and Iraq are engraved in granite in a permanent memorial, to assure that future generations of Americans will remember and honor them with gratitude as we do today. The panels carry the names of all those who died in Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation New Dawn.

cf0z1wwukaaxklyThe Memorial is the result of both community activism and local government commitment. In 2003, shortly after the invasion of Iraq, an Irvine resident named Dr. Asher Milgrom created the first display in the park. The original make-shift memorial consisted of thirty wooden posts bearing the names and photos of the fallen. Starting in 2006, a non-partisan group of Irvine residents advocated for the establishment of a permanent memorial. In late 2009, the Irvine City Council unanimously approved a plan to create a permanent memorial, which was dedicated on November 14, 2010.

I am proud to say that last year, the Irvine Community Services Commission, of which I was then a member, recommended that the City add two new pillars to the site. extend the area of the plaza, install two new benches, and add a pedestal with history of the Memorial. The City Council then unanimously approved the Commission’s recommendations.

Irvine has a long and proud military tradition. From 1942 to 1999, Irvine was home to Marine Air Station El Toro, the largest Marine Corps Air Station on the West Coast. During World War II, the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam War, thousands of United States Marines, as well as airmen, sailors, and soldiers, departed for war from MCAS El Toro.  Irvine’s own sons and daughters have also served our nation in times of war. Too many did not return.

As the daughter of a combat veteran and as an Irvine City Councilmember, I am proud that Irvine honors our fallen heroes.

I hope to see you there.

What: Northwood Gratitude and Honor Memorial – Expansion Groundbreaking

Where: Northwood Community Park, 4531 Bryan Avenue, Irvine, CA 92620

When: Sunday, February 26, 2017, 4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

For more information, call 949-724-6728.

Join Me as Irvine Honors Our Fallen Heroes

MemorialDayCarousel-2016

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”  President John F. Kennedy

Please join me this weekend as Irvine honors the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation.

Irvine has a long and proud military tradition. From 1942 to 1999, Irvine was home to Marine Air Station El Toro, the largest Marine Corps Air Station on the West Coast. During World War II, the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam War, thousands of United States Marines, as well as airmen, sailors and soldiers, departed for war from MCAS El Toro.

Many never returned.

As the daughter of a combat veteran and as an Irvine Community Services Commissioner, I am proud that Irvine will honor our fallen heroes in two ceremonies this weekend:

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Candle Lighting Ceremony: Northwood Gratitude and Honor Memorial 

4531 Bryan Avenue, Irvine CA 92620

4:00 p.m.

Northwood memorialThe Northwood Gratitude and Honor Memorial, dedicated in 2010, is the nation’s first and only memorial dedicated exclusively to listing the names of all the fallen American service members in Afghanistan and Iraq.  The names of every service member who has died in Afghanistan and Iraq are engraved in granite in a permanent memorial, to assure that future generations of Americans will remember and honor them with gratitude as we do today. The ceremony will honor our fallen heroes from all generations, with special tribute to those fallen heroes of the recent and ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  We will also hear from and honor Gold Star families.  Please bring lawn chairs or blankets for seating.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day Ceremony: Col. Bill Barber Marine Corps Memorial Park

4 Civic Center Plaza, Irvine CA 92606

10:00 a.m.

Col. Bill Barber Marine Corp Memorial Park, located next to City Hall, is named in honor of Korean War Medal of Honor recipient and Irvine resident Marine Corp Colonel William E. Barber (1919-2002).  Attendees will have the opportunity to memorialize our troops’ sacrifice by writing a brief remembrance to be posted on a memory board. Cards will also be available for well-wishers to send a message of appreciation and support to Irvine’s adopted 211/Marine Battalion.  Click here to download a pre-made remembrance card.

As stated so beautifully and appropriately by the Veterans of Foreign Wars:

“Pausing to remember and honor America’s fallen service members is a practice dating back more than 100 years. Since the days of the Civil War, humble Americans have gathered together on Memorial Day to remember and pay tribute to all who have fought and selflessly surrendered the precious gift of life, so that other could live free.

Again we gather this Memorial Day, as a nation solemnly united in remembrance of the fallen defenders of our great nation. Freedom is not free. It has come at great cost, paid for with the lives of our sons and daughters, husbands and wives, sisters and brothers, friends and comrades.

Every American owes a great debt to the courageous men and women who have selflessly given their all to defend and protect our way of life. And while giving back to the extent they deserve is impossible, celebrating their memory and honoring their most selfless deeds offers a start.

This Memorial Day, pause to reflect on the absolute selflessness of the 1.3 million members of our nation’s military who paid the price needed to ensure our way of life endures, and let us not forget the families whose pain will never go away, but may lessen with our thanks and prayers.

God Bless our fallen, their families, and our men and women in uniform all over the world.”

 

Memorial Day: The Lesson of the Four Chaplains

Four Chaplains, Melissa Fox, Irvine Commissioner Melissa Fox, melissafoxblog, melissajoifox, Melissa Fox blog

When my husband was a child, his father, a World War II U.S. Navy veteran, told him the story of the Four Chaplains of the USAT Dorchester as an example of American heroism and American values.

It is a story worth sharing again this Memorial Day:

On the night of February 3, 1943, United States Army Transport ship Dorchester was en route from Newfoundland to England via Greenland, when it was hit by torpedoes from a German submarine.

The Dorchester listed sharply to starboard, then began to sink almost immediately into the icy water. The torpedoes knocked out the Dorchesters electrical system, leaving the ship dark. The ship was overcrowded and there were insufficient lifeboats or lifejackets for the 904 men on board.

Four Chaplains, Melissa Fox, Irvine Commissioner Melissa Fox, melissafoxblog, melissajoifox, Melissa Fox blog

The Four Chaplains of the USAT Dorchester: Rabbi Alexander D. Goode, Rev. George L. Fox, Rev. Clark V. Poling, and Father John P. Washington

As the Dorchester sank, the ship’s four chaplains aided the wounded, sought to calm the men and organize an orderly evacuation of the ship, helped get the men into lifeboats and then gave up their own lifejackets when the supply ran out. They helped as many men as they could into lifeboats, then linked arms in prayer as the ocean water overcame the deck and the ship sank.

A survivor later explained:

“As I swam away from the ship, I looked back. The flares had lighted everything. The bow came up high and she slid under. The last thing I saw, the four chaplains were up there praying for the safety of the men. They had done everything they could. I did not see them again. They themselves did not have a chance without their life jackets.”

As the ship went down, survivors in nearby lifeboats could see the four chaplains – their arms linked and braced against the slanting deck. Their voices could also be heard offering prayers.

Survivors said could hear different languages mixed in the prayers of the chaplains, including Jewish prayers in Hebrew and Catholic prayers in Latin.

Twenty-seven minutes after the torpedoes hit, the Dorchester was gone.

The four chaplains were:

Lt. George L. Fox, age 42, Methodist.

Lt. Alexander D. Goode, age 32, Jewish.

Lt. Clark V. Poling, age 32, Reformed Church in America.

Lt. John P. Washington, age 34, Roman Catholic.

For the Four Chaplains sacrifice, on December 19, 1944 they were posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and the Distinguished Service Cross. Later, due to the under-fire requirement to receive the Medal of Honor, Congress decided to authorize a special medal that carried the same weight. It was called the Chaplain’s Medal for Heroism. These four men are the only chaplains ever to receive this award.

On this Memorial Day, I will be thinking about the four chaplains, arms linked and praying together on the deck of the USAT Dorchester in 1943.

And I will be thinking, with gratitude, of all of the men and women of our Armed Forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the rights and freedoms that we hold to be essential, including the right to be free from discrimination based on one’s race, faith, gender or sexual orientation.

According to the Four Chaplains Memorial Foundation, the lesson of the sacrifice made by the four chaplains is “unity without uniformity” and “selfless service to humanity without regard to race, creed, ethnicity, or religious beliefs.”

The Reverend Daniel Poling, father of Chaplain Clark V. Poling, said that the lesson of the Four Chaplains is that “as men can die heroically as brothers so should they live together in mutual faith and goodwill.”

My father-in-law said it more simply:  We are all Americans.