The U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) recently announced 18 communities across the U.S. as World War II (WWII) Heritage Cities, including four communities with sites important to DOE.
The National Park Service (NPS), part of the DOI, oversees the American World War II Heritage Cities Program, which recognizes contributions citizens in counties, towns and cities made to support America’s WWII effort.
The four communities and DOE sites are:
- Savannah and Chatham counties, Georgia (Savannah River Site)
- Los Alamos County, New Mexico (Los Alamos National Laboratory)
- Oak Ridge, Tennessee (Oak Ridge National Laboratory)
- Tri-Cities, Washington (Hanford Site)
All of these DOE sites have ongoing EM cleanup work.
In a 2021 letter to NPS supporting Los Alamos County’s inclusion in the WWII Heritage Cities Program, U.S. Sen. Ben Ray Luján wrote, “Los Alamos is famed for their work in creating the atomic bomb during World War II, and has since done a remarkable job of preserving this history and creating a living legacy of continued scientific innovation.”
The WWII effort in the U.S. saw most men and women do their part to support American and other troops in the Allied countries in the massive effort to defeat the Axis countries, primarily Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan and Fascist Italy. The U.S. industrial effort helped win the war by equipping millions of troops with the uniforms, weapons, ordnances, vehicles, planes, ships and other items critical to the war effort.
According to historian and retired Army Lt. Col. Thomas D. Morgan, before WWII, the U.S. Army totaled less than 200,000 men and was ranked 17th in the world among armies by force numbers, with obsolete aircraft and other equipment. This puts the efforts of the WWII Heritage Cities into greater perspective, showing how men and women on the home front joined the military, or went to work producing large quantities of war material.
The WWII Heritage Cities Program was established by Congress, “to recognize the historic importance of the United States domestic involvement in World War II and ensure the continued preservation of a defining period in American history.”
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