A veterans cemetery is finally coming to Orange County after more than a decade of community organizing, proposals, setbacks, and legislative action. The cemetery site is over 280 acres and is located off the Gypsum Canyon exit in Anaheim Hills.
Assembly Bill (AB) 1595 which was sponsored by the County of Orange allows the California Department of Veterans Affairs (Cal Vet) to study, acquire, design, develop, construct and equip a state-owned and state-operated Southern California Veterans Cemetery in Orange County.
“Our Veterans, allied Veterans, and first responders have always had our backs, and it’s time we have theirs,” said Supervisor Donald P. Wagner of the Third District. “It was an honor to lead the bipartisan coalition with our Veterans and community. A local Veterans cemetery reflects not only our military history, but a vision for the future: service, respect, and love of country.”
Flag One American Flag
One December 8, 2021 “Flag One” was raised at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Veterans cemetery in Anaheim Hills. The 30-by-60-foot American flag on a 100-foot pole marks the first step towards building a Veterans cemetery site in Orange County.
Future plans for Flag One include a new flagpole entry area which will be funded by the County and the Orange County Cemetery District.
Drivers on the 91 freeway can now see this towering American flag atop Gypsum Canyon as they enter Orange County. 24/7. The American Flag is also lit up at night for all to see.
“Today is a monumental day in Orange County history, as we break ground on behalf of over 100,000 OC Veterans and for our entire County. The men and women who served our great country deserve a dignified burial spot,” said Supervisor Don Wagner, Third District. “I am grateful we have strong bipartisan support from the local, state, and federal levels. Building a local cemetery for our hometown heroes is the right thing to do, and though it is long overdue, the right time is now.” said Orange County Supervisor Don Wagner.
Southern California Veterans Cemeteries
The Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) National Cemetery Administration maintains 10 veterans cemeteries in California and four in Southern California.
These are currently the nearest Southern California cemeteries to Orange County:
- Bakersfield National Cemetery
- Los Angeles National Cemetery
- Miramar National Cemetery
- Riverside National Cemetery
Veterans Cemetery Burial Benefits
A veteran cemetery is a cemetery specifically designated for the burial of veterans and their eligible family members. They provide a final resting place for those who have served in the military and are a way to honor their service and sacrifice. Eligibility for burial in a veteran cemetery usually requires that the individual has been honorably discharged from the military.
Burial benefits for Veterans at a VA national cemetery include a gravesite in any of the VA national cemeteries with available space, opening and closing of the grave, perpetual care, a government headstone, marker, or medallion, a burial flag, and a Presidential Memorial Certificate, at no cost to the family. Some Veterans may also be eligible for burial allowances. Cremated remains are buried or inurned in national cemeteries in the same manner and with the same honors as casketed remains.
Burial benefits available for spouses and dependents buried in a VA national cemetery include burial with the Veteran, perpetual care, and the spouse or dependents name and date of birth and death will be inscribed on the Veteran’s headstone, at no cost to the family. Eligible spouses and dependents may be buried, even if they predecease the Veteran.
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Monique McArthur is a mother of two, writer, and creator of delicious recipes. In her spare time she enjoys exploring all that Orange County has to offer, traveling, shopping, running with her dogs and spending time with family.