Support for a veterans cemetery from many voices
“It may surprise you, but there is no veterans cemetery here in Orange County. That’s not for lack of trying. Orange County veterans have fought and lobbied for years to create a local cemetery for those who have bravely served our country….But now a new and totally unnecessary obstacle has been placed in the way of our veterans cemetery. A group of individuals with a different agenda have decided to support an initiative that would stop the construction of our cemetery.
“The most offensive and candidly disgusting part of their opposition is that they are saying they are supportive of a veterans cemetery. Just not this one.
Those of us who fought for our freedoms are tired of waiting and tired of being prevented from being laid to rest with our brothers and sisters at home. We’re tired of being prevented from leaving this earth under the American flag—in our county.
No one who has served would stand in the way of an Orange County veterans cemetery that is ready to be built, approved to be built and funded to be built. Stop the selfishness, stop the self-interest, stop the opposition and stop the initiative. Build the Orange County veterans cemetery now.”
—Nick Berardino, committee member of the OC Veterans Memorial Park Foundation
“Which is a more fitting site to honor those who sacrificed their time and lives to maintain your privilege to live in a free country: an unfunded, polluted, more expensive, hidden, and unapproved property, or one that is funded, not-polluted, less expensive, visible, and approved?
You are doing such a disservice to the nation, the state, and the local community. Please stop wasting taxpayer time and money by stopping your petition efforts.”
—Mike Padian, former Irvine Co. executive, in a letter to Larry Agran cc’d to media
“This [Strawberry Field] site has the support of neighbors, veterans, the developer and a majority of the City Council. That is why the politics must end now. And it shouldn’t have been made a political issue or an election year issue in first place. It is about local veterans deserving an appropriate final resting place—and this is the place.”
--OC Register Editorial Board
“The current senseless battle over where veterans will be able to find their ultimate resting place is demonstrating that the very worst of political opportunism is alive and well in OC. But even more importantly, it is conversely providing a rare glimpse of the power of bipartisan action to do good….Both political parties overwhelmingly endorsed the same location for Orange County’s first veterans cemetery.... The governor supports the Strawberry Field location. So does the majority of Irvine’s City Council. A local developer, FivePoint, has pledged $10 million toward phase one of construction. The Orange County Register supports it. Most importantly, veterans carry the hope that this might actually be a place where they can rest.
A small group of politically-motivated individuals are attempting to derail construction on the Strawberry Fields location by launching a misleading campaign to gather signatures claiming to ‘Save The Veterans Cemetery.’ Of course, the cemetery has been approved, dedicated and doesn’t need ‘saving’…
On the battlefield, the men and women of our great military don’t fight under the banner of Republican or Democrat. They sacrifice their lives in defense of our American flag, under the banner of red, white and blue.
When they come home, they deserve to rest in a place that represents that same unity of purpose they brought with them in fighting for our nation. They deserve a place that’s close enough for their wives and children and grandchildren to visit, to reflect, to remember and to find peace. The current veterans cemetery location, widely supported across party lines, fulfills each of those obligations we owe to our county’s veterans.
—Jennifer Muir Beuthin, general manager of the OC Employees Association