WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Wichita was designated as an American World War II Heritage City on Monday, Dec. 5.

“We are so excited to receive this special designation,” said Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple. “Wichitans helped shape the outcome of World War II – both on the battlefront and here at home.”

“World War II permeated every aspect of American life and resulted in a large migration of people within the United States. Individuals and families relocated to industrial centers for good paying war jobs and out of a sense of patriotic duty,” the National Park Service says. “Many industrial centers became “boom towns,” growing at phenomenal rates. Workers from around the nation had to intermingle with each other and overcome differences in order to meet war demands, forever changing the cultural landscape of the United States.”

In order to recognize the historical importance of the United States’ involvement in WWII, the National Park Service says the Secretary of the Interior may designate up to one city from each state and territory as an American WWII Heritage City.

“As the “Air Capitol of the World,” the City of Wichita, Kansas has a strong connection with World War II, with its greatest home front accomplishment being the development and production of military aircraft,” says the National Park Service. “In all nearly 26,000 planes of various types were produced: single and multi-engine training craft; cargo and transport planes; and more than 1600 B-29 Superfortress heavy bombers.”

The National Park Service says thousands of men and women flocked to Wichita for jobs, raising the city’s population from 114,966 in 1940 to approximately 200,000 in 1943.

War production factories and local businesses were open around the clock to serve workers, according to the National Park Service. This included restaurants and bus lines.

“Wichita meat processing plants, flour mills, and oil refineries also supplied the troops,” the National Park Service says. “The Coleman Company designed a one-man stove, later called the G.I. Pocket Stove, that resulted in the production of more than one million units before war’s end.”

The National Park Service says troop trains, each carrying hundreds of new service men, traveled through the city.

“Union Station and the bus depot had canteens supported by more than 1,500 volunteers from nearly forty different women’s clubs to staff them,” says the National Park Service.

Other local organizations, such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars “Over There” Post No. 112, sent care packages to troops overseas, according to the National Park Service.

In 1951, the city’s Municipal Airport site was taken over by the United States Air Force to become McConnell Air Force Base. The National Park Service says the base was named after three Wichita brothers from the McConnell family, who were Air Force pilots and WWII veterans.

The Municipal Airport’s administration building, which opened in 1935, is now the Kansas Aviation Museum.

“Local volunteers contributed greatly to the restoration of a B-29 Superfortress nicknamed “Doc” that now serving as an aviation ambassador,” the National Park Service says.

The National Park Service states Kansas Honor Flights have used Wichita’s Eisenhower National Airport to take more than 2,500 veterans to visit the war memorials in Washington, D.C., with local groups happily welcoming the veterans’ return.

Veteran’s Memorial Park actively commemorates WWII veterans and events.

The National Park Service says, “Memorials honor Pearl Harbor Survivors, the U.S.S. Wichita, America’s Gold Star Families, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Prisoners of War & Missing in Action, and the Berlin Airlift Veterans.”

There are annual activities in the park to honor various events of the war, such as Pearl Harbor Day, the D-Day Invasion, VE, and VJ Days.

Other WWII Heritage Cities include:

For more information, click here.