Build the Veterans Memorial Park & Cemetery
Honoring Southern California’s Military History
For 60 years, Irvine was home to the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS). After MCAS was decommissioned, 125 acres of the former base (known as the “ARDA” site) was designated to become the Southern California Veterans Memorial Park & Cemetery. (Currently, there is no State Veterans Cemetery in Southern California, even though we are home to the largest veteran population in the United States.)
The ARDA site was chosen because of its Control Tower and Aircraft Hangars — iconic symbols from the base 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 for a State-built and State-operated Veterans Memorial Park & Cemetery. In 2018, Irvine residents voted to support the Veterans Cemetery on the ARDA site.
However, a billion-dollar-developer, aided by a Mayor and City Councilmembers schemed to defeat the project. That’s why our committee launched an initiative campaign. Hundreds of volunteers — including veterans and our families, nurses, teachers, students, small business owners, and energetic retirees — gathered 19,790 signatures (we only needed 12,888) so that our initiative could qualify for the November 2020 ballot. As a result of that effort, on May 12, 2020, the Council relented and adopted our citizens’ initiative as an ordinance, making it effective immediately, and dispensing with the need for an election.
However, our job is not over yet! Our committee must now push the Council to immediately move forward with construction of the Southern California Veterans Memorial Park & Cemetery.
To read the “Build It NOW! Plan,” click here.
Irvine’s Promise to Veterans and Their Families
The Veterans Memorial Park & Cemetery at the ARDA site would have become operational last Veterans Day (November 11, 2019). Instead, years have been wasted because of a greedy land developer and a City Council majority beholden to that developer.
Below is Larry Agran’s proposed “Built it NOW! Plan” for the initial construction of the Veterans Memorial Park & Cemetery:
Join the Fight
We are a volunteer, veteran-led grassroots campaign that depends on small donations.
Please help support our efforts!
What the Community is Saying
I cannot think of a more fitting addition to the Great Park than this tribute to the thousands of Armed Forces personnel who, over the decades, served at the Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro.
Charles was my husband for 54 years. He passed away on 1/30/2018 and was cremated. I have held on to his ashes since then as I want him to be buried at the Veterans Cemetery in Irvine. He deserves a final place in Orange County, where we have made our home since 1964. I will continue to wait on his behalf.
We didn’t hesitate or procrastinate when called to duty — whether in country, in remote areas of the world, or theaters of combat. We answered when the call came. Now it’s time for the City of Irvine to answer the call.
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.
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.
My husband, Robert passed on June 16, 2019. He served in the Air Force and retired after 20 years. His wish was to have the OC Veterans Cemetery be his final resting place. I hope it is open soon. We are waiting to have the proper funeral until it is built.