Memorial Day is a day of remembrance when Americans honor veterans who have died in the service of freedom.

Orange County residents still don’t have a local veteran’s cemetery to visit their loved ones this Memorial Day. 

Local veterans have been awaiting an official veteran’s cemetery in the county for over a decade. In September 2022, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation approving a local site.

But vets are still waiting.

While Orange County remains the only county in Southern California without a veteran’s cemetery, cities across the county have events planned throughout the weekend in observance of the federal holiday on Monday, May 29. 

Field of Honor at Castaways Park 

Location: 700 Dover Drive, Newport Beach, CA 92660

The 14th annual Field of Honor, presented by the Exchange Club of Newport Harbor, will commemorate both Armed Forces Day and Memorial Day.

The Exchange Club of Newport Harbor places 1,776 flags along the pathways of the park overlooking Newport Harbor. Castaways Park is open to the public for all to view the flags. 

The presentation is already up as of May 19 and will remain until May 29 at Castaways Park, 16th and Dover Drive in Newport Beach. Flags for dedication are available to purchase at $50 per honoree. 

All proceeds from the program will be distributed to organizations that support military members and their families and other charities and scholarships.

Homefront America’s Field of Honor

Location: 26801 Ortega Highway, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675

Mission San Juan Capistrano is partnering with Homefront America again to display 400 7-foot American flags to honor military personnel and first responders.

Visitors can sponsor an individual flag to add to the exhibit to honor their loved ones beginning at $50 per flag. All proceeds benefit Homefront America, a military outreach and support organization.

The Field of Honor will be on display during Mission San Juan Capistrano’s normal operating hours of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. from May 23 through May 29 at regular admission prices.

The Mission is usually closed on Mondays, but it will be open on Memorial Day from 10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. as part of the program. 

Freedom Shrine Dedication Ceremony

Location: 24552 Paseo De Valencia, Laguna Hills, CA 92653

The Exchange Club of South Orange County is partnering with Fairhaven Memorial to bring The Freedom Shrine to Laguna Hills on Friday at 1:30 p.m. 

The Freedom Shrine is a collection of 32 historic U.S. documents that serve as windows to America’s past. Thousands of these shrines have been displayed across the nation.

This installation will be displayed at The Meridian at Laguna Hills, a senior living community.

Laguna Hills Mayor Janine Heft and County Supervisor Katrina Foley are scheduled to attend the event. Food will be served for all attendees before the event and guests can enjoy live performances of patriotic music.

Irvine Memorial Day Ceremonies

Location: 4531 Bryan Avenue, Irvine, CA 92620

In partnership with the Northwood Memorial Committee, the city of Irvine is hosting a candle-lighting ceremony at the Northwood Gratitude and Honor Memorial Sunday at 4 p.m. Guests should bring lawn chairs or blankets for seating.

Location: 4 Civic Center Plaza, Irvine, CA 92606

Irvine is also hosting its annual Memorial Day ceremony in the Colonel Bill Barber Marine Corps Memorial Park Monday at 10 a.m. 

Attendees can memorialize the troops’ sacrifices by writing down a brief message on cards that will be posted on a memory board at the event.

Orange County Cemetery District Memorial Day Programs

Location: 1400 E Sycamore Street, Anaheim, CA 92805

Anaheim Cemetery’s Memorial Day service will begin Monday at 11 a.m. in front of the Community Mausoleum to remember and honor veterans. The event will be outside, and guests are encouraged to arrive early or bring their own seats. 

Location: 1919 E Santa Clara Avenue, Santa Ana, CA 92705

Another Memorial Day observance will be at the Santa Ana Cemetery, beginning Monday at 10 a.m.

The program will feature live music, including a performance by the Orange High School Choir. Afterward, Orange American Legion Post 132 is hosting a barbecue at its hall space — 143 S Lemon St. Orange, CA 92866.

Location: 25751 Trabuco Road, Lake Forest, CA

There will be a Memorial Day program at El Toro Memorial Park in Lake Forest Monday at 11 a.m. 

Guests can enjoy live music at the event. Doug Cirbo, Marine Corps Veteran and Lake Forest Mayor, is scheduled as the featured speaker.

Saluting Women in the Armed Forces at Fairhaven Memorial Park

Location: 1702 Fairhaven Avenue, Santa Ana, CA 92705

Fairhaven Memorial Park & Mortuary in Santa Ana is hosting the 31st annual Memorial Day service Monday at 10 a.m. This year’s service is themed “Saluting Women in the Armed Forces” and will specifically recognize 10 female military personnel and their impact.

The service will feature various speakers like Stephanie Alvarez, general manager of Fairhaven Memorial Park, Santa Ana Mayor Valerie Amezcua and Major Michael Nolan of the Marine Corps. 

There will be live performances and complimentary food and refreshments will be provided. The service is open to the public and free to attend.

Laguna Hills Memorial Day 5K, 10K, Half Marathon

Location: 25555 Alicia Parkway, Laguna Hills, CA US 92653

Laguna Hills’ 5K, 10K and half-marathon events are honoring the United States Marine Corps Dark Horse Battalion this Memorial Day. There is also a half-mile race for kids ages 4 to 10 and a diaper dash race for children under 3 years old.

Registration is currently open for $140 for the half-marathon, $65 for the 10K, $55 for the 5K and $15 for the kids’ races. Registration for the adults’ races includes an official race shirt and medal. These three races begin at 7 a.m.

The 2023 medal honors prisoners of war and members of the armed forces missing in action.

Memorial Day Observance at the San Clemente Community Center

Location: 100 N. Calle Seville, San Clemente, California 92672

The city of San Clemente is commemorating local fallen heroes this Memorial Day with an observance ceremony. The program is held outdoors and is free and open to the public.

Residents who know a deceased service member who resided in San Clemente that should be honored through this observance can email with their name, service title and other special notes for them to be recognized.

The keynote speaker for the event is Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Kim, Commanding Officer, 1st Combat Engineer Battalion. The observance begins Monday at 11 a.m.

Fountain Valley Memorial Day Flag Raising Ceremony at Veterans Park

Location: 17635 Los Alamos Street, Fountain Valley, CA 92708

The city of Fountain Valley and the West Orange County Veterans of Foreign Affairs Post and Auxiliary 9557 are celebrating Memorial Day with a flag-raising ceremony.

The event is at the city’s Veterans Park near the Orange County Library, Fountain Valley Branch and begins Monday at 10 am. It will be live-streamed on the Fountain Valley recreation and community services’s Facebook page

Tustin Memorial Day Remembrance at the Veterans Sports Park

Location: 1645 Valencia Avenue, Tustin, CA 92782

The Tustin Parks and Recreation Department is hosting the third annual Memorial Day Remembrance event Monday at 9 a.m. at the city’s Veterans Sports Park.

The event is free and open to the public. The ceremony will include speeches and readings of the names of Tustin service members killed in action and missing in action. 

The guest speaker is Rick Martinez, a retired sergeant of the Anaheim Police Department and board member for Honoring Our Fallen, Inc.

Dana Point Memorial Day Ceremony

Location: 34941 Camino Capistrano, Dana Point, California 92629

The city of Dana Point is honoring fallen military personnel at a Memorial Day ceremony Monday at 10 a.m. in Pines Park with a traditional service. 

The ceremony will be presented by the Dana Point Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9934 in partnership with the city.

Angelina Hicks is a Voice of OC Reporting Fellow. Contact her at or on Twitter @angelinahicks13.


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