Wilmington named the country’s first World War II Heritage City

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY/AP) — President Donald Trump stopped in the Port City on Wednesday to declare Wilmington America’s first World War II “Heritage City.”

Pres. Trump arrived at Wilmington International Airport around 1:30 p.m. to hundreds of people on the tarmac. You could hear chants like “four more years” by some in the crowd.

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Supporters say it’s an honor to be a part of this day.

“It’s for our heroes,” Onslow County resident Jerry Morse said. “It’s recognizing veterans of WWII. Nothing can be more appropriate than having that on the USS North Carolina. This is probably one of the most important things we can be doing right now. It’s exciting. Just to be a part of it, to be a supporter, a helper I think you couldn’t be doing a better job.”

People started arriving on airport grounds before 9 a.m. to greet Trump on the tarmac. Some were also veterans, and were happy to see Wilmington named as the first WWII “Heritage City”.

“It’s for our heroes,” veteran Bill Hall said. “It’s recognizing veterans of WWII. Nothing can be more appropriate than having that on the USS North Carolina. I think it’s fantastic. It sets a precedent, and I hope the other cities can come up to our standards.”

Outside the gate, many supporters tailgated on the side of the road. People showed up with flags, Make America Great Again gear, and signs to welcome the president.

“Any chance I get to support him, see him, be there for him, I’m gonna do it,” supporter Martin Brewer said.

Some even camped out for hours in the intense summer heat in hopes to get a glimpse of Trump.

From there, he traveled to the USS Battleship North Carolina where the president sped through a V-J Day speech as storms threatened the area.

Trump trumpeted American strength but also took some swipes at Democratic rival Joe Biden.

Trump appeared before a World War II-era battleship to declare Wilmington a World War II “Heritage City.”

“During World War II, this magnificent ship participated in many major naval offenses in the Pacific itself, including the Marshall Islands, Iowa Jima and Okinawa, earning more stars than any other battleship,” Trump said.

He pointed to a bolt of lightning and said it was God saluting the event.

He honored war veterans, including 97-year-old Hershel “Woody” Williams, the sole surviving Marine from the war to receive the Medal of Honor. The West Virginia native fought in the Battle of Iowa Jima in the Pacific.

“With this designation, we proudly declare that in America, we don’t tear down the past,” Trump said. “We celebrate our heroes. We cherish our heritage. We preserve our history, and we build a future. This mighty vessel in this magnificent town will forever tell that story.”

Williams traveled to North Carolina with the president aboard Air Force One. Trump said the veteran is “100 percent sharp.” And then referring to Biden, Trump said: “I know a 78-year-old who’s not so sharp.”

During his speech at the Battleship, trump also denounced the protests and recent violence around the country.

“American warriors did not defeat fascism and oppression overseas only to watch our freedoms be trampled by violent mobs here at home,” Trump said.

This was President Trump’s 12th visit to North Carolina.

Democratic nominee Joe Biden released this statement ahead of the president’s visit:

“President Trump likes to call himself a wartime president, but the reality is that North Carolinians are still suffering because he surrendered to COVID-19 long ago. He abandoned North Carolinians in their moment of need, and his failure of leadership has cost over 2,700 lives.

President Trump still does not understand that in order to fully and effectively restart the economy, we must defeat the virus. Instead of providing North Carolina the roadmap and resources needed to protect small businesses, schools, and families, he has criticized local leaders and threatened educators for listening to public health experts. Instead of honoring the sacrifice of our frontline heroes, President Trump has repeatedly ignored public health guidance for political purposes. Instead of focusing on expanding COVID-19 testing and contact tracing, he is trying to get the U.S. Supreme Court to rip away access to health care and erase protections for more than 4 million North Carolinians with preexisting conditions.

North Carolinians deserve a president who understands what it takes to manage a crisis, unite our nation, and build our economy back better. If I am elected President, North Carolinians will have a partner in the White House — one who will immediately begin implementing a plan to tackle this pandemic and help us build back better.”