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Any local government jurisdiction of any type that's recognized by a U.S. state or territory is eligible to be considered for designation as an American World War II Heritage City. These include, but aren't limited to, counties, parishes, municipalities, cities, townships, boroughs, towns, and villages.
In addition, a nomination doesn't have to be for a single jurisdiction only. The program accepts joint jurisdiction nominations as long as the jurisdictions share a contiguous border or overlap geographically.
Applicants must meet both criterian 1 and 2 in order to be considered for designation. While a nomination must meet both criterion, it does not have to meet all of the subcategories.
The criteria are spelled out in Section 9007 (c) of the Dingell Act.
Criterian 1: Contributions by a city and its environs to the World War II home-front war effort, including contributions related to:
- Defense manufacturing, such as ships, aircraft, uniforms, and equipment
- Production of foodstuffs and consumer items for Armed Forces and home consumption
- War bond drives
- Adaptations to wartime survival
- Volunteer participation
- Civil defense preparedness
- Personnel serving in the Armed Forces, their achievements, and facilities for their rest and recreation, or
- The presence of Armed Forces camps, bases, airfields, harbors, repair facilities, and other installations within or in its environs
Criterian 2: Achievements by a city and its environs to preserve the heritage and legacy of the city’s contributions to the war effort and to preserve World War II history, including:
- The identification, preservation, restoration, and interpretation of World War II-related structures, facilities and sites
- Establishment of museums, parks, and markers
- Establishment of memorials to area men who lost their lives in service
- Organizing groups of veterans and home-front workers and their recognition
- Presentation of cultural events such as dances, plays, and lectures
- Public relations outreach through the print and electronic media, and books; and
- Recognition and ceremonies remembering wartime event anniversaries.
To explore the criteria in depth see the American World War II Home Front Heritage City Criteria Essays.
In order to nominate a jurisdiction it first has to meet the Criteria for Designation.
If a jurisdiction meets the criteria its highest locally elected official can submit a nomination to the National Park Service during the designated nomination period. When the nomination period is open, an announcement will appear on the American World War II Heritage City Program website homepage.
Once the nomination period has ended, the American World War II Heritage City Program will acknowledge receipt of complete nominations and review them within three (3) months.
The Program will then submit reviewed nominations with recommendations to the Director of the NPS. The Director will forward the nominations and recommendations to the Department of the Interior for consideration and designation by the Secretary of the Interior.
Designation is an honorific that recognizes the importance of the U.S. home front during World War II. It's one way to nationally recognize a community as having made significant and important contributions to America's war effort.
A designated jurisdiction receives an official letter informing them of their designation. They're then eligible to apply for permission to use the official program logo.
The National Park Service (NPS) also shares the stories of the designated jurisdictions on its American World War II Heritage City Program website. The place-based web pages include histories, photos, information about visiting designated jurisdictions, and links to other related NPS websites. This helps tie the jurisdictions into the larger story of the WWII home front and helps people appreciate the efforts Americans and their communities made to support the war effort and each other.
The John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act of 2019 didn't appropriate any funding for the American World War II Heritage City Program, so there's no grant money or financial assistance from the program for designated jurisdictions. Jusrisdictions may, however, apply for other grants administed by the National Park Service.
Last updated: September 15, 2023