Orange County veterans pushing for new cemetery in Anaheim Hills

Rob McMillan Image
Wednesday, July 7, 2021
Veterans seeking cemetery in OC
Veterans and political leaders are hoping to build a cemetery for OC vets in Anaheim Hills.

ANAHEIM HILLS, Calif. (KABC) -- Los Angeles and the Inland Empire have their own national cemeteries for veterans, but Orange County has none.

That has long been a source of frustration for OC vets and their families. But a new effort is underway to establish a veterans cemetery in Anaheim Hills.

Veterans and elected officials recently announced plans for a 100-acre veterans cemetery in Anaheim Hills, south of the 91 Freeway at Gypsum Canyon.

"I want you to go into your mind's eye, and think what this is going to be like up, on that upper hilltop," said Bill Cook with the Orange County Veterans Memorial Park Foundation.

"With rows of white veteran headstones, shining in the setting sun, for all the people commuting back to Riverside County to ponder on for 45 minutes every night. It's going to be spectacular."

For years, many veterans had hoped to build a cemetery on the site of the old El Toro Marine Corps air station. Many veterans recalled flying out of that base to go to Vietnam.

Although about $500,000 was appropriated by then-Gov. Jerry Brown for a cemetery there in 2014, the city of Irvine did not approve the plan.

Now veterans hope it can happen in Anaheim Hills.

Renderings for the project have been drawn, although funding remains a question.

County Supervisor Don Wagner said he hopes the project can break ground later this year.

"This is the place. Now is the time. Let's get it done," Wagner said.