For nearly 60 years, Irvine was home to the Marine Corps Air Station El Toro (MCAS El Toro) which was the largest tactical flight operations base on the west coast. Countless military personnel flew in and out of MCAS El Toro when serving our nation in combat zones overseas.
After MCAS El Toro was decommissioned, 1,300 acres of the former base were designated to become the Great Park. Within the Great Park, a 125-acre site (known as the “ARDA” site) was specifically set aside to become the Southern California Veterans Memorial Park & Cemetery. (Currently, there is no State Veterans Cemetery in Southern California, even though the region is 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.
Building a beautiful Veterans Memorial Park & Cemetery on the ARDA site at the Great Park will not only serve to honor our veterans, but will also honor veterans’ families who have repeatedly expressed their desire to have their loved ones buried close to home.
Former Irvine Mayor and Councilman-elect Larry Agran promised voters that he would introduce a Resolution at the very first business meeting of the new Council — scheduled for January 12, 2021 — which includes a detailed plan for the City of Irvine to immediately move forward with construction of the Veterans Memorial Park & Cemetery on the ARDA site at the Great Park. To read Agran’s Resolution, click here.
Irvine Community News & Views will be watching Agran, and the new Council, to see if they are willing to work together to finally deliver on the City’s promise to our veterans and veterans’ families.