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Opinion: As the first World War II Heritage City, Wilmington started a nationwide trend

From Manitowac to Pascagoula, Casper to Savannah. From New Orleans to Wichita, Oak Ridge to Paterson. Gone nationwide.

Holy cow, see what Wilmington started!

The connection? We’ve all earned National Park Service designation among the nineteen American World War II Heritage Cities.

This national history preservation project Wilmington conceived, organized, and led, with statewide support, from 2008 culminated with our designation as the first such city by President Donald Trump here on Sept. 2, 2020.

The recognition program took off. The word circulated. Cities wanted in.

Senator Thom Tillis and Congressman David Rouzer, with an earlier push from Congressman Mike McIntyre, engineered through Congress our draft legislation. Trump signed the law in March 2019, establishing the program administered by the Secretary of the Interior.