A Veteran’s Voice
His history of service has extended through many years. During his tour in Vietnam, Sergeant Brower was awarded two Bronze Stars for heroism in ground combat, two Purple Hearts for wounds received in combat, a Combat Infantryman Badge, two Air Medals, Vietnam Service Medal, an Army Commendation Medal, and other service awards. Sergeant Brower was part of the battle of Fire Support Base Ripcord, the last major engagement between U.S. forces and the North Vietnam Army.
Today, Mr. Brower continues in a broad array of volunteer community services. He is a member of The American Legion where he serves as one of six Legislative Commissioners for the Department of California, and the Finance Officer for District 29 (Orange County). He is also a member of and a key advisor to the Orange County Veterans Memorial Park Foundation.
ICN caught up with Mr. Brower in Quail Hill, near his long-time home in Turtle Rock, to discuss his support of the veterans cemetery, and why he’ll be voting Yes on B.
ICN: Why have you been so active in the Veterans Cemetery issue?
Brower: The brave men and women I served with were willing to write a blank check to the United States up to and including their lives to protect the things that we enjoy so dearly in our country. The MCAS El Toro base was both the last U.S. soil many soldiers saw as they departed to protect our country abroad and the first place many people saw when they escaped foreign dictators for a better life in the U.S.
Since the base was selected for closure in the late 1990s a dedicated group of veterans have fought to establish a veterans cemetery at the former Marine Base. These Veterans have never been closer to achieving their goals, but unfortunately, there are some who are trying to stop the efforts through misleading statements and outright lies to the voters. Make no mistake, a yes vote on Measure B on June 5 will get the veterans cemetery built once and for all, while a no vote will likely prevent it from ever being built. The stakes are incredibly high.
ICN: What would you say to those who claim Measure B is about development?
Brower: I would tell those people not to believe the lies. Our veterans group, made up of many Irvine and countywide vets, has fought for this cemetery to become a reality for almost 20 years. It has been disheartening to see people who were advocates of the cemetery turn around and become vicious opponents, merely because they aren’t getting their way.
In fact, we had to file a lawsuit against the opponents of Measure B because of the number of misstatements in their arguments. The court ruled that the opponents were intentionally trying to mislead the voters, yet they still print the lies in their campaign materials.
This has never been about development or traffic. It is simply a question of whether voters in Irvine will choose to honor their commitments to their veterans or not. I am an optimist, to have fought where many of us did to protect our country, you had to be. Ultimately, I believe the voters of Irvine are smarter than some people believe and that they will see through the lies.”