What We Do

Memorial Day

We participated in Orange County’s Memorial Day ceremonies, and Irvine’s Northwood Memorial park ceremony. We set up an American Legion Post information table at Bill Barbers Memorial Park.

  • Originally known as Decoration Day is a federal holiday to honor and mourn those who died while serving in the U.S. military. Many mourn family members that were veterans that died after being discharged. People place an American flag on graves of military personnel in national and state cemeteries.
  • Veteran organizations are invited to participate in Memorial Day services, asked to lead the Pledge of Allegiance, provide Honor Guards, place American Flags on graves, and sometimes conduct memorial services for family members.
  • Veteran organizations pass out poppies in exchange for donations. Poppies are the flowers used as a symbol around the world to remember those who died in military service.

Veterans Day

Originally known as Armistice Day is observed annually on November 11, to honor military veterans that were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. It coincides with other holidays including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day which are celebrated in other countries that mark the anniversary of the end of World War I. Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. At the urging of major U.S. veteran organizations, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.

Our American Legion Post has participated in Orange Counties ceremonies, and we always have an American Legion and VFW information table.

Managed by Irvine’s Lake View Senior Center, The post officers helped deliver thank-you letters and American flags to some veterans that are 50 years old or older. Not all veterans are receiving flags because their address is not in the Senior Centers database.

The Northwood Gratitude and Honor Memorial

Residence living in the Northwood area started the Memorial in 2003 to honor the American servicemen and women who were dying in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. A temporary memorial was erected annually in the corner of the Northwood Community Park.

The temporary memorials that were created annually from 2003 through 2010 were made from donated materials and the efforts of local residents who created the lists of the fallen, found photos of them, and decorated the posts holding the lists. The city and park administrations kindly supported the efforts from the sidelines. The permanent Memorial was a joint effort between residents of Northwood and the city. Each partner contributed to each stage of the project with the actual construction done by a Gold Star Father along with volunteer contractors. The Northwood Gratitude and Honor Memorial were dedicated on November 14, 2010, as part of the Northwood Community Park. A Northwood Memorial Steering Committee made up of area residents and city and park staff members coordinate events and activities involving the Memorial.

Flag Education and Retirement Ceremonies

We retired flags by burning a few years ago at Col Bill Barbers Park, in Huntington Beach, and at the fire department’s training facility in Irvine. It is hard to find a place to retire flags by fire today and cannot burn nylon or plastic flags.

Different Boy Scouts Troops help us retire flags today and we educate Irvine’s Youth Action Team, Elementary School Students, on flag adequate. This is information they do not get in school.

Honoring those that served

We welcome home the American service members who died while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. We attend the celebration of life ceremonies of the other veterans that pass away years after serving their country.

We visit our sick and dying veteran brothers and sisters in the hospital. We have a special ceremony during the American Legion District meeting for members that died in recent months. Their name is called out, there is a pause, and someone calls out “No Answer.” And taps are then played.

We attend funerals of veterans we do not know and are there to honor those that died serving our country.

Veteran Cemetery

Our Members meet with the Irvine City Council, Orange County Supervisors, and many California officials to support a veteran’s cemetery in Orange County.

On December 4, 2018, the Orange County Board of Supervisors approved transferring approximately 283 acres in Anaheim’s Gypsum Canyon, to the Orange County Cemetery District (OCCD) to be utilized as a public cemetery with half of the useable acreage to be set aside for a State veterans’ Cemetery. As part of the approval, OCCD was also asked to provide burial cemetery space for allied Veterans, police, and firefighters.

On July 27, 2021, the Board of Supervisors budgeted $20 million exclusively for site development of the Veteran’s portion of Gypsum Canyon Veteran Cemetery. The funding of the Veteran’s Cemetery is from the American Rescue Plan Act.

On September 13, 2022, the Orange County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously that Cal Vet conduct an acquisition study to assess the feasibility and cost of construction of a Southern California Veteran Cemetery at Gypsum Canyon. The Board’s action also authorized the immediate payment of an amount not to exceed $700.000 from the Rescue Plan Act to Cal Vet.

The majority of the veterans in Orange County support the Gypsum Canyon site for a veterans cemetery.

Every city in Orange County, including the Irvine City Council, has formally backed building a future veterans cemetery at the Gypsum Canyon location.

The Gypsum Canyon veteran cemetery could open for burials in 2026.

Other activities

Food Drives for Marines

Long Beach VA Hospital Christmas Party – Operation Santa

Orange County American Legion Post helped the VA Hospital with its Christmas events prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Orange County veteran organizations collected toys for the veterans who were having financial problems. These are pictures of the last Christmas Party.  (I tried to send a video I took but it was more than 25 mb) (Pictures 477, 538, 855 – taken 12/15/2018)

Operation Santa is a yearly Christmas event to help veteran families have a nice Christmas at home. Anyone can adopt a family needing help. They contact the veteran and ask what they need. It is usually a Christmas Tree, a nice meal, or a special toy for their child.

Poppy Day

The poppy thrived in Europe After World War I. Beautiful red poppies started growing in the dirt and mud in France and Belgium. Scientists attributed the growth to the soil being supplemented with lime from the rubble left by the war. The red poppy came to symbolize the bloodshed during battle following the publication of the wartime poem “In Flanders Fields.” The poem was written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, M.D. while serving on the front lines.

On September 27, 1920, the poppy became the official flower of The American Legion family to memorialize the soldiers who fought and died during the war. In 1924, the distribution of poppies became a national program of The American Legion.

Led by the American Legion Auxiliary, each year members of The American Legion Family distribute poppies with a request that the person receiving the flower make a donation to support the future of veterans, active-duty military personnel, and their families with medical and financial needs.

Poppy Day is celebrated in countries around the world. The American Legion brought National Poppy Day to the United States by asking Congress to designate the Friday before Memorial Day, as National Poppy Day. Wear a red poppy to honor the fallen and support the living who have worn our nation’s uniform.


Our American Legion Post is sponsoring a cub scout pack. We had a member who worked with the Scout pack, but they decided to move to San Diego. A post officer volunteered to take over, but we could always use some additional help. These are some pictures from past events

Youth Action Team

American Legion Post 838