Event series held for Wartime Wilmington Week highlights the city’s connection to WWII history

Wilmington Wartime Week
Wartime Wilmington Week WWII living history and book signing November 4, 2021 at the Hannah Block Historic USO/Community Arts Center (Photo: WWAY)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It’s Wartime Wilmington Week at The Hannah Block Historic USO/Community Arts Center, kicking off a series of events with a WWII living history and book signing today.

The Hannah Block Historic USO/Community Arts Center is hosting its Wartime Wilmington Week with events commemorating  80 years since the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the 80th birthday of the Hannah Block Historic USO/Community Arts Center.

“This is like a full experience, that people can walk in and imagine themselves back in the 1940’s during WWII, and really get a feeling of what it was like. During the height of the war in 1943, 60,000 service people a month came through this building,” said Susan Habas, Executive Director of Thalian Association Community Theatre.

The first event for Wartime Wilmington Week featured a WWII living history program with reenactors representing Camp Davis and Fort Fisher, and historic artifacts on display including a World War II jeep, equipment, uniforms, and weapons.

“It’s been fascinating and we’ve had people from all ages here today, younger people, older people. I think people are really enjoying the exhibit. I think it’s just amazing, it kind of illustrates life of a soldier, the importance of the army camp up at Camp Davis, the training they went through,” said Cliff Tyndall, Camp Davis WWII reenactor and historical consultant.

Wilbur Jones, leader of the a 12 ½ year project that helped Wilmington gain its title as the first American World War II Heritage City was at the event signing his wartime Wilmington books including “A Sentimental Journey” and “The Day I lost President Ford”.  Jones said as a history preservationist, he is glad to see people enjoy events that showcase the city’s connection to World War II.

“It makes me feel so good, because that’s what I’m trying to do. Not only preserve history, but let people understand it, and they say ‘hey I didn’t know that about Wilmington. I didn’t know we built ships here during the war, I didn’t know we had Camp Davis, and all of the soldiers in town,’ and that is the most rewarding thing. To see how people enjoy it,” said Wilbur Jones, author and history preservationist.

The Hannah Block Historic USO/Community Arts Center will be holding a Pearl Harbor commemoration and WWII Heritage City recognition on Tuesday, December 7.  Events during Wartime Wilmington Week will be held through December 12.

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