Honoring Southern California’s Military History

More veterans live in California than in any other state. In fact, 10 percent of all veterans call our state home, with the vast majority residing in southern California.

Even though there are several State Veterans Cemeteries in northern and central California, there’s not a State Veterans Cemetery in southern California.  Our campaign is working to correct that oversight.

Irvine was home to the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS).  For nearly 60 years, the military played a critical role in shaping the region.

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 site was chosen because of its iconic landmarks (including the Control Tower and Aircraft Hangars) which will be preserved and repurposed as lasting tributes to the thousands of men and women who served at El Toro.

This year, Orange County State Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva introduced a bipartisan bill — AB 368 — to move forward with construction of the Southern California Veterans Cemetery.

AB 368 would allow the State to build, operate and maintain the Veterans Cemetery at the ARDA site in the Orange County Great Park.

The bill was unanimously passed by the State Assembly and is headed to the State Senate.

Irvine’s Promise to Southern California Veterans


In 2014, Irvine leaders committed to honoring veterans by building the Southern California Veterans Memorial Park & Cemetery at the ARDA site in the Orange County Great Park.

Unfortunately, a commercial developer got involved and delayed the project, which was scheduled to become operational this Veterans Day (November 11, 2019). 

That’s why we are launching an initiative campaign! 

Our initiative will designate the ARDA site in the Great Park for one use only — the Southern California Veterans Memorial Park & Cemetery so that we can get back on track, with construction beginning this year!


Join the Fight

Our campaign is launching an initiative that will ensure that the long-promised Southern California Veterans Memorial Park & Cemetery becomes a reality.  But, to get the initiative on the ballot, we need to raise the funds required to cover the costs for gathering the 20,000 petition signatures required to qualify the initiative for the ballot.

We are an all-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.

Jon Brownell

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.

William C. Hyser

The veterans have been waiting for this — including my Vietnam veteran husband.

Linda Holmes

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.

Timothy Hoffman

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.

Colonel A. S. Marraccino

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.

Rogelio Camero

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