Support Our Veterans
Honoring Southern California’s Military History
Orange County is home to 130,000 veterans. Unfortunately, our closest Veterans Cemetery is out in Riverside which is too far for many family members to travel to visit their loved ones.
For 60 years, Irvine was home to the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS). After MCAS El Toro was decommissioned, 125 acres of the former base (known as the “ARDA” site) was designated to become the Southern California Veterans Memorial Park & Cemetery.
The ARDA site was chosen because of its iconic landmarks (including the Control Tower and Aircraft Hangars) which were to be preserved and repurposed as lasting tributes to the thousands of men and women who served at El Toro. Years of planning, designs and approvals took place at the ARDA site.
In 2018, Irvine residents voted to support a State-built and State-operated Veterans Memorial Park & Cemetery on the ARDA site.
This year, Orange County state lawmakers (including Sharon Quirk-Silva, Tom Umberg, and Tom Daley) worked together to pass a bill which leaves the fate of the Veterans Cemetery in the hands of the City of Irvine.
While Irvine voters have already made our voices heard, a giant land developer is trying to get City leaders in Irvine to transfer the ARDA site to them for massive commercial development…and massive profit.
Irvine Mayor Christina Shea was caught on video revealing to a group of homeowners her plan to orchestrate a Council vote to select a completely different, never studied site as a “diversion tactic” to stop the State from building the Veterans Cemetery at the ARDA site. Shea further revealed she wants to give the ARDA site to a commercial developer as part of a “99-year lease.” The Mayor’s “new site” will take years of environmental studies and completely new plans before construction can begin.
That’s why our “Build the Great Park Veterans Cemetery” committee is launching an initiative petition campaign that will allow Irvine voters to bypass the City and rezone the ARDA site as the citizens’ once-and-for-all choice for our County’s Veterans Memorial Park & Cemetery, which will include thousands of trees, walking paths, and a military aircraft museum.
Irvine’s Promise to Southern California Veterans
The Veterans Memorial Park & Cemetery at the ARDA site would have become operational this Veterans Day (November 11, 2019).
Instead, a giant developer (FivePoint) has colluded with the Irvine Mayor to cancel the project…again. This is the second time in two years that FivePoint and Mayor Shea have created a scheme to cancel construction of the Veterans Cemetery at the ARDA site.
Join the Fight
Our initiative will designate the ARDA site in the Great Park for one use only — the Veterans Cemetery so that we can get back on track, with construction starting immediately!
However, we need to raise the funds (right now!) to cover the printing costs for thousands of petitions, along with pamphlets, signs, and other essential campaign materials.
We are a volunteer, veteran-led grassroots campaign that depends on small donations.
Please help support our efforts!
What the Community is Saying
Stand Up for our veterans and support building the Veterans Cemetery at the ARDA Site in the Great Park as originality planned.
Having served my country in both Iraq and Afghanistan, I feel the cemetery should be located on the old El Toro Marine base. I currently reside in the Great Park and would be honored to have those who served our great country interred as my neighbors.
The veterans have been waiting for this — including my Vietnam veteran husband.
The Great Park location was approved long ago after a lengthy permitting and environmental impact process. I’m a Vietnam-era veteran whose remains will probably be interred at the Vet Cemetery when my time comes. We need to back the ARDA site without any more delays.
I am a Vietnam era veteran and have served 40 years in the military. Let the veterans who have served this great nation of ours and who have sustained our freedoms have a final resting place on the historical and hallowed grounds at MCAS El Toro.
The promised location of the Veterans Memorial Park & Cemetery must be kept. The location is appropriate in honor of our veterans. It blends very well with the other plans for the Great Park.