Did you watch all 15 hours of the Ken Burns mega-series "The War" which wrapped up last night on PBS? I did! I probably spent too much time in front of the TV these last 10 days, but it was worth it. Burns and his team really are very good at telling an emotionally charged story. As I read in a recent Time Magazine article, producer Lynn Novick says that during their interviews with war survivors, "we asked all the time, What happened? and then, How did you feel?"
Having watched the series, I have wondered, what are the World War II sites managed by the National Park Service? It's not quite as easy to answer as maybe you'd expect. There are the obvious ones (USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii for instance), but as I discovered, there are a lot of park units that played at least a small role in the war effort.
Did you know:
- Mount Rainier National Park was the birthplace of our first ski/mountain troops, which eventually evolved into the 10 Mtn. Div.?
- The Department of the Interior Building in D.C. had anti-aircraft guns on its roof?
- Many of the National Seashores were used as lookouts for German subs?
- Shenandoah was selected as an inland removal site for the administration if it had been required to move from D.C.?
- The military wanted to cut old growth Spruce trees from Olympic National Park, but Director Newton Drury prevented it?
- Governors Island National Monument was used as a supply / logistics base during both WWI and WWII?
Here are the specific World War II sites that I've come up with. Did I miss any?
Rosie the Riveter National Historic Park
Port Chicago Naval Magazine (as I talked about yesterday)
Minidoka Internment National Monument
Manzanar National Historic Site
Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site
Special thanks to the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees for helping me compile some of the details in this story.