After bill passage, Wilmington expected to be among first designated as WWII Heritage City

After bill passage, Wilmington expected to be among first designated as WWII Heritage City
Downtown Wilmington North Carolina. Along the Cape Fear River sits a historic city. (Source: Kolby Skidmore WECT/WECT)

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Wilmington will likely be among the first cities in the country to be named a World War II Heritage City.

President Trump on Tuesday signed into law the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, which includes a provision authored by Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Representative David Rouzer (R-NC) that directs the Secretary of the Interior to annually designate one city in the United States as an “American World War II Heritage City.”

A news release from Tillis’ office stated that Wilmington will likely be among the first cities to receive the honor.

“After years of work with Congressman Rouzer and Wilmington officials, today marks a major step toward designating Wilmington as an American World War II city,” said Tillis. “It is vital we pay recognition to 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.”

“Following eleven years of hard work and exceptional dedication by Captain Wilbur D. Jones, I am excited and proud that his idea to honor cities for the preservation of their significant contributions during World War II has now become a reality,” said Rouzer.

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.

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