Sacramento – The State Senate Veterans Affairs Committee voted 5-0 on June 25 to approve Assembly Bill (AB) 368 by Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D – Fullerton). AB 368 designates a site in the Orange County Great Park as the location for a Southern California Veteran’s Memorial Park & Cemetery.
“It is clear that an Orange County Veteran’s Cemetery is essential, as many veterans and their family’s needs are not being met by the existing Veteran’s Cemeteries,” said Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva. “We need a site for the Southern California Veteran’s Cemetery that will serve and recognize the many Californians who made great sacrifices for this nation.”
The State Legislature continues to demonstrate its support for a Southern California Veteran’s Memorial Park and Cemetery in Orange County. Recently, Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva, Assemblymember Tom Daly (D – Anaheim), and Senator Tom Umberg (D – Santa Ana) secured the inclusion of $20 million in the 2019-20 state budget.
Previous legislation, AB 1453 (Quirk-Silva) in 2014, mandated the construction and operation of the cemetery at the site of the former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, on 125 acres known as the Amended and Restated Development Agreement (ARDA) site in the Great Park in the City of Irvine.
Daly and Umberg are principal co-authors of AB 368, which reiterates the Legislature’s support for a cemetery at the ARDA site.
The existing Veteran’s Cemetery in Los Angeles is at full capacity, and the lengthy wait for veterans to be buried in the Riverside Veterans Cemetery is insufficient for many families wanting to honor their loved ones. Furthermore, many regional and geographical barriers prevent Orange County Veterans from using the Riverside Cemetery due to the limited driving routes, traffic, and public transportation.
“On behalf of all the veterans, I’m pleased that this historic project continues to move forward. I salute my colleagues Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva and Senator Umberg for their outstanding work,” stated Assemblymember Tom Daly.
“The sacrifices made by our brave veteran men and women from Orange County should be recognized in Orange County. That simple goal, to provide a proper and respectful resting place for our community’s heroes, is the paramount charge of these efforts,” said Senator Tom Umberg. “Cooperation with veteran organizations, city residents, and local government, is important, and I would urge all parties to join the state’s efforts in bringing this memorial to fruition for all the heroes of Orange County. Let’s build this memorial.”
The bill moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee.