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Submitted by Katelyn Supa on Wed, 05/22/2013 - 8:11pm.

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) --The State Ports Authority honored Merchant Mariners who served during World War II. A wreath and flowers were tossed into the Cape Fear River on Wednesday. Veterans say it's important to hold ceremonies like this so that generations to come remember the sacrifices that were made to protect our freedom. Senior Manager at the Port of Wilmington, Steve Jackson said, "Someone mentioned to us last year that spoke and said that if we didn't have the Merchant Mariners, we wouldn't have won World War II and if we didn't win World War II, Hitler would have won. So I recognize the freedom that we have and we wouldn't have had it if we didn't succeed in World War II and we couldn't have done it without the Merchant Mariners." Of the nearly 243,000 Merchant Marines who served during World War II, more than 9,500 died.

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