The National Park Service (NPS)announced Monday the designation of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, as an American World War II Heritage City.
NPS’ American World War II Heritage Cities Program ”honors the contributions of local towns, cities, counties and their citizens who stepped into the workforce to support America’s war effort during World War II.”
A city’s qualifying “contributions” to the World War II home front war effort include tasks such as the manufacturing of defense weapons, including ships, aircraft, uniforms, and equipment; the production of food and consumer items for Armed Forces and home consumption; volunteer participation; and civil defense preparedness, NPS said.
The program was established by the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act of 2019 to “recognize the historic importance of the United States’ domestic involvement in World War II.”
The American World War II Heritage Cities Program honors the contributions of local towns, cities, counties and their citizens who stepped into the workforce to support America's war effort during World War II. https://t.co/ARxjm5PDEl
— National Park Service (@NatlParkService) December 5, 2022
Oak Ridge was designated as a World War II Heritage City due to the secret work conducted in the area to develop the Manhattan Project, which produced the world’s first atomic weapons.
“Oak Ridge was built under a cloak of secrecy by the United States government during World War II as a major site of the Manhattan Project, the massive wartime effort that produced the world’s first atomic weapons,” the National Park Service writes on its website. “In 1942, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers bought an estimated 60,000 acres of rural farmland to construct a “temporary” city and three facilities to develop the technology that helped to end the war.”
Tennessee Representative Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN-03), who represents Oak Ridge, congratulated the city on its designation by stating, “I am proud to have led the Tennessee Congressional Delegation to have Oak Ridge designated our state’s one and only American World War II Heritage City.”
I'm proud to have led the effort in DC to have Oak Ridge designated as Tennessee's only American World War II Heritage City by the NPS.
— Chuck Fleischmann (@RepChuck) December 6, 2022
Only one American World War II Heritage City can be designated in each state or territory, according to NPS. There are currently 19 American World War II Heritage Cities across the United States.
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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network.
Photo “Oak Ridge, Tennessee Commemorative Walk Monument” by Brian Stansberry. CC BY 3.0.