The City of Oak Ridge has been designated a World War II Heritage City, the only city in Tennessee to receive that designation.
The National Park Service has notified the city of the designation, Oak Ridge said in a press release Tuesday.
“The American World War II Heritage Cities Program honors the contributions of local towns, cities, (and) counties, and commemorates the stories of the men, women, and children whose bravery and sacrifices shaped the U.S. home front during World War II, and still impact our nation today,” the press release said. “Only one American World War II Heritage City can be designated in each state or territory. Oak Ridge played a critical role in history and has been designated Tennessee’s American World War II Heritage City through the program. ”
Oak Ridge was a key production site during World War II as part of the top-secret Manhattan Project, a federal program to build the world’s first atomic weapons, before Germany could. Among other work, Oak Ridge enriched uranium for the first atomic bomb used in wartime and had the first reactor to make plutonium-239. A plutonium sample was sent to scientific facilities at Los Alamos, New Mexico, and more of that isotope, the fuel used in the second bomb, was produced at Hanford, Washington.
“Created secretly during World War II as a key location of the Manhattan Engineer District, Oak Ridge is a community which embraces the preservation of its history and the unique role played on the home front during the United States’ involvement in World War II,” Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson said. “The city appreciates the endorsement of our application by our federal, state, and local partners, particularly by Congressman (Chuck) Fleischmann, without which the application would not have been considered.”
“Oak Ridge played one of the most important roles of any city or community in the United States during World War II,” said Fleischmann, a Republican whose district includes Oak Ridge. “The work conducted at Oak Ridge to develop the Manhattan Project was instrumental for our nation to triumph over evil during the war. Oak Ridge’s legacy has already been enshrined by the establishment of the Manhattan Project National Park, and the National Park Service’s designation of Oak Ridge as an American World War II Heritage City will further preserve the city’s legacy for countless generations of future Americans. … I am proud to have led the Tennessee congressional delegation to have Oak Ridge be designated as our state’s one and only American World War II Heritage City.”
According to the National Park Service, information about the engagement of Oak Ridge residents to marshal resources toward the war effort at home and to commemorate and preserve the city’s legacies will be included on the website at https://go.nps.gov/AWWIIHC. The information may also be included in future American World War II Heritage City program promotional materials, the press release said.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
Most news stories on Oak Ridge Today are free, brought to you by Oak Ridge Today with help from our advertisers, contributors, and subscribers. This is a free story. Thank you to our advertisers, contributors, and subscribers. You can see what we cover here.
Do you appreciate this story or our work in general? If so, please consider a monthly subscription to Oak Ridge Today. See our Subscribe page here. Thank you for reading Oak Ridge Today!
Alternatively, you can donate to support our work here. Thank you for your support!
Copyright 2022 Oak Ridge Today. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.