History: Wilmington, NC and Retired Navy Captain Wilbur Jones Jr.
After the Japanese surrender reached Wilmington on Sept. 2, 1945, the entire coastal city including the Jones family fell silent and rushed into their homes to hear the details on air via the radio.
For Jones, his family, and the rest of the Wilmintonians who had sacrificed their coastal community for wartime necessities, they were bittersweet to hear that the war was finally over. For almost five years, the area's population had increased by thousands as the government realized the manufacturing potential and military advantages due to the Cape Fear river.
From the production of battleships starting in November 1940, at the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company to the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) program, and to the home of the USS North Carolina. The City of Wilmington’s role in World War II exceeded all expectations at home and from thousands of miles away. By the end of the war, the shipyard nearly tripled in size to keep up with demands of the war. Over the five year period, workers had produced 243 ships.
today: President Trump on the USS North Carolina
Wilmington’s remarkable reputation during World War II inspired Retired Navy Captain Wilbur Jones Jr. to write about 20 books, seven of them focusing on World War II and the impact Wilmington had during the war. From Jones' dedication, President Trump will recognize Wilmington, NC as nations first World War II Heritage City.
“Following 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 Congressman David Rouzer (R-NC).
(Source: AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Trump made his official announcement of the designation during a ceremony on board the USS North Carolina today September 2, 2020. The event, which was closed by the public, also recognized the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. Veterans from the War were invited and welcomed aboard the USS North Carolina for the ceremony.
Jones emphasized that for a city to receive the WWII Heritage City designation, it must not only have made a major wartime contribution, but also have worked actively since to preserve the military legacy.
“It’s the historical markers. It’s the preservation organizations that have been established. It’s the veterans that we have looked after with USO dances and meet and greets, and ceremonies honoring the Pearl Harbor survivors every December 7, and I could go on and on and on,” said Jones.
We are very impressed with Captain Wilbur D. Jones' dedication to the preservation of Wilmington’s World War II history. If you have never had a chance to visit the charming, historic City of Wilmington we highly encourage you to visit!
Source: WECT: "Wilmington set to become America's first World War II Heritage City."
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