Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, D-Fullerton, has introduced legislation to create a veterans cemetery in Orange County, the state’s largest county with no dedicated burial ground for its combat veterans and other servicemen and women.
“I am very excited and honored to work with community stakeholders and Orange County veterans toward advancing efforts for establishing such an important and historic project within our community,” stated Quirk-Silva in a news release. “This is the right thing to do for the over 130,000 veterans in Orange County who have bravely served our nation.”
Quirk-Silva, chairwoman of the Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee, said her proposal, Assembly Bill 1453, would instruct the state Veteran Affairs Department to work with the Orange County Board of Supervisors and city councils to build an Orange County veterans cemetery owned and operated by the state.
The location, cost, design and other issues would be coordinated by the Veterans Affairs Department if the bill clears the Legislature and is signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.
The nearest available veterans cemetery is in Riverside County. In November a group of Orange County veterans urged the Irvine City Council to begin working with groups to possibly build a cemetery adjacent to the proposed Great Park, site of the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station.
If it became reality, this cemetery would be the only state veterans cemetery in Southern California. Veteran cemeteries in other counties are national cemeteries. The first national cemeteries were created during the Civil War, with the most famous being in Arlington, Va., near Washington, D.C.