WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Wilmington is likely to become the nation’s first World War II Heritage City after The Natural Resources Management Act passed the Senate on Tuesday.
The act includes a provision written by Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) to designate at least one city in the United States each year as an American World War II Heritage City. Wilmington is at the top of that list.
The act now heads to the House for final passage.
“Today marks a major step toward creating official designations for American World War II cities, including Wilmington,” said Sen. Tillis. “I’ve been pursuing this legislation alongside Congressman [David] Rouzer for years because it is vital that we pay recognition to the cities across the nation – including Wilmington – that made significant contributions during World War II to secure America’s victory in Europe and the Pacific, and have worked to preserve this history.”
The criteria for the designation includes contributions made during the war, preservation efforts and veteran recognition.
Workers built 243 ships over a five-year period in Wilmington during World War II. The city was home of the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company. Three prisoner of war camps were also in Wilmington, holding as many as 550 Nazi prisoners at their peak.