In February, Irvine Community News & Views launched a new series of articles: The Veterans Corner. This new column features articles written by local veterans and their family members.
While most local media coverage regarding a Veterans Memorial Park & Cemetery in Irvine has primarily included quotes from politicians and members of a veterans group that was founded and funded by developer FivePoint, Irvine Community News & Views is providing a space for veterans and their families to speak directly to the community.
Tens of thousands of Irvine residents have been reading our new veterans series and sharing the articles with friends and neighbors via social media. In fact, the Facebook shares continue to grow with each article we release.
The first article in our series was written by Frank McGill. Frank served six years in the U.S. Air Force as a pilot, flying combat missions in Vietnam. After completing his military service, Frank attended graduate school on the GI Bill, earning a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning. He is a longtime Irvine resident who has spent the past several years helping to lead the effort to establish a Veterans Memorial Park & Cemetery at the “ARDA” site on the former El Toro Marine Corps Station at the edge of the Great Park. He serves as Chair of the Veterans for the ARDA Site Cemetery, representing more than 2,000 Orange County veterans and their families. To read Frank’s article, click here.
Ed McNew wrote the second article. Ed served in the U.S. Army, and was stationed in Japan, post-Korean War, from January 1955 through May 1956. While visiting an Army buddy shortly after leaving the service, Ed met and married the love of his life, Louise. The two planted roots here in Irvine. Since losing his beloved Louise in 2017, Ed has spent much of his time supporting veterans and their families through his work on the Build the Veterans Memorial Park & Cemetery committee. In fact, Ed spent five months gathering nearly 4,000 of the 19,790 signatures collected for a citizens’ initiative that legally designated the ARDA site as a Veterans Memorial Park & Cemetery. To read Ed’s article — which details his work helping to establish the initiative law that is now being ignored by the Mayor and her Council majority — click here.
Our third article was written by Ed Pope. Ed served in the U.S. Army from 1961 to 1963, during the height of the Berlin crisis. Part of his duties overseas included teaching medical mobilization procedures to military personnel. His love of teaching followed Ed home. He taught social studies for three decades and was recognized as Orange County Teacher of the Year in 1984. In his Veterans Corner article, Ed explains: “I proudly served my country in Berlin, knowing that I was doing my part to protect democracy in western Europe and here in the United States. I came to appreciate how important it is for the voices of the people to be heard … and heeded. When I came home, I spent 35 years teaching my students that your vote is your voice in this country. And that, through the ballot, the will of the people always prevails. Except, it seems, here in Irvine.” To read Ed’s article, click here.
The fourth article will be published next Sunday evening, written by Ray Cordova. Ray served in the 82nd Airborne Division/504th Parachute Infantry Regiment during Vietnam, and is a staunch supporter of building the long-promised and voter-approved Veterans Memorial Park & Cemetery on the ARDA site at the Great Park here in Irvine.