OC Veterans Cemetery Dedicated to the Ones We’ve Loved


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The “Gettysburg Moment” for the OC Veterans Cemetery

[Ed. Note: This is a press release from Five Point on Friday’s dedication ceremony, to which I’ll be adding some analysis in comments.  For those confused by other commenters, this was a dedication ceremony — think “Gettysburg Address” — rather than a groundbreaking.  My personal conflicts stated — I’ve been involved to various extents from the beginning of this project with OCVMP, and I’ve said some nasty things over the years about FivePoint and most of the bold named politicos in both major parties below.  Still, as the father of a sailor on deployment, I really find myself quite touched by this moment, on behalf of future families of servicemembers who will pass by the site honoring them at the El Toro “Y.”  That kindness and respect to them remains, to me, the main logic behind the land swap leading to a more visible cemetery.  GAD]

SITE OF ORANGE COUNTY’S FIRST VETERANS’ CEMETERY DEDICATED IN CEREMONY HONORING LOCAL SERVICEMEMBERS

Orange County Veterans Memorial Park Foundation Joins City of Irvine and FivePoint to Mark Significant Milestone in Dream to Honor Local Veterans

IRVINE, Calif., Oct. 27, 2017 — As a squadron of World War II-era aircraft thundered overhead, local, state and federal officials joined veterans’ groups today to dedicate Orange County’s first veterans’ cemetery on the former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro site.

The Orange County Veterans Memorial Park Foundation, the City of Irvine and FivePoint’s partnership (Heritage Fields El Toro, LLC) hosted the flag-raising ceremony for the Southern California Veteran’s Cemetery on 125 acres near the Orange County Great Park. The event – attended by nearly 300 invited guests – marks a significant milestone in efforts to create a memorial park that honors the courage and sacrifice of Orange County veterans and their families. Construction of the state-run veterans’ cemetery could begin as early as October 2018.

“We’re honored to be part of this long-overdue dedication to the local men and women who served  their country with valor and honor,” said Emile Haddad, FivePoint Chairman and CEO. “Thanks to the vision and persistence of the Orange County Veterans Memorial Park Foundation, our service members and their families soon will have a thoughtfully-planned local memorial site that forever conveys the community’s deepest gratitude.”

The dream of establishing Orange County’s only veterans’ cemetery moved closer to reality in September when the Irvine City Council approved a land-exchange proposal put forth by the Orange County Veterans Memorial Park Foundation and the FivePoint partnership. Orange County veterans have long wanted a veterans’ cemetery in Orange County; currently, the closest veterans’ cemeteries are in Riverside and San Diego counties. The city’s agreement to exchange parcels accelerates the construction timeline and is estimated by local and state officials to ultimately save taxpayers more than $50 million for the cemetery’s first phase.

“This is a milestone for all Orange County residents and especially our veterans and their families, who have championed for this cemetery for years,” said Irvine Mayor Don Wagner, who served as master of ceremonies during the event held on the former MCAS site now used for strawberry fields on which the memorial park will be built. “The City of Irvine is grateful for their service and is committed to housing a memorial park that will honor their service and sacrifices.”

During the dedication ceremony, organizers raised the U.S. flag alongside the California state flag and flags representing the five branches of the United States Armed Forces. As a bagpiper played the hymns of the five service branches—Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Marine Corps—veterans stood and cheered. A 21-gun salute by a local American Legion color guard troop capped a series of moving speeches honoring America’s servicemen and servicewomen, including an estimated 132,000 veterans who live in Orange County.

“These flags will wave in perpetuity to Orange County’s heroes,” said Orange County Veterans
Memorial Foundation President Bill Cook, who spoke at the dedication. “The veterans of Orange
County chose to protect the nation and our freedoms – with some making the ultimate sacrifice for our country. With this Southern California Veterans Memorial Park, we can thank them by offering a final resting place right here in their own community and providing a daily reminder to all of us of the price of freedom.”

Also during the ceremony, Irvine Councilmembers Melissa Fox and Christina Shea; Orange County Supervisors Michele Steel and Todd Spitzer; Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva and Assemblyman Steven Choi; State Senator Janet Nguyen; U.S. Representatives Lou Correa and Dana Rohrabacher all expressed their gratitude to Orange County service members and the hope that families will consider the new cemetery a worthy tribute.

About FivePoint
[NO, SORRY; WE’RE NOT DOING THAT!]

Contact:
Steve Churm, Chief Communications Officer, FivePoint


About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose worker's rights and government accountability attorney, residing in northwest Brea. General Counsel of CATER, the Coalition of Anaheim Taxpayers for Economic Responsibility, a non-partisan group of people sick of local corruption. Deposed as Northern Vice Chair of DPOC in April 2014 when his anti-corruption and pro-consumer work in Anaheim infuriated the Building Trades and Teamsters in spring 2014, who then worked with the lawless and power-mad DPOC Chair to eliminate his internal oversight. Occasionally runs for office to challenge some nasty incumbent who would otherwise run unopposed. (Someday he might pick a fight with the intent to win rather than just dent someone. You'll know it when you see it.) He got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012 and in 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002. None of his pre-putsch writings ever spoke for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level, nor do they now. A family member co-owns a business offering campaign treasurer services to Democratic candidates and the odd independent. He is very proud of her. He doesn't directly profit from her work and it doesn't affect his coverage. (He does not always favor her clients, though she might hesitate to take one that he truly hated.) He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)