Today a long time wish for Orange County Veterans takes another step forward to coming true.

The former historic barracks which was built on the Santa Ana Army Air Base during World War II will be moved from its current site and placed on its newly built foundation which will become a world class veterans museum at the Orange County Fair and Event Center.

The museum and its grounds will present a beautiful setting where our entire community can learn and be reminded that freedom isn’t free!

This singularly important lesson which is the foundation of our democracy will be taught by exhibits and the stories from the hearts and the souls of veterans who sacrificed their futures to protect the principles of nation founded by ordinary men and women who fled oppression to build a free nation.

For years veterans in Orange County have fought for the opportunity and space to build a museum.

Veterans were able to win historic battles during world wars, Korea, Vietnam and the Middle East but in Orange County we could never win our battles with developers to get property to build our museum.

In nicely worded political rejections Vets were told given the land value in Orange County a museum “just doesn’t pencil out”.

After remarkable denials by conservative interests and politicians who control the landscape of Orange County finally nine fair board members, republicans and democrats, took on the responsibility to build a museum to honor vets and teach the lessons of democracy to our children in a meaningful and impactful way.

The current members of the Fair Board appropriated almost $4 million dollars to build the museum.

Today when the building is moved and placed on its new foundation a more important foundation will be preserved; the foundation of democracy for the greatest nation in the world.

Nick Berardino is Vice Chair Orange County Fair and Event Center and retired OCEA General Manager.

Voice of OC is interested in hearing different perspectives and voices. If you want to weigh in on this issue please contact Voice of OC Involvement Editor Theresa Sears at

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