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Thursday, July 18, 2024

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Tower opens on Armed Forces Day

By On Deck Staff

On Armed Forces Day, May 16, you can honor America’s “greatest generation” and pay tribute to the brave men and women who served in our armed forces at the Grand Opening Ceremony for the newly restored World War II Lookout Tower (Fire Control Tower No. 23) Museum & Memorial.
The Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts (MAC), which has just completed a $1.3 million restoration of the tower, will begin ceremonies at 10 a.m.
The US Coast Guard Band from USCG Training Center Cape May will play patriotic music and the Color Guard will present the colors.
World War II veterans will be present and will be honored by a dove-release.
Public officials including Congressman Frank LoBiondo, Freeholder Leonard Desiderio, State Senator Jeff Van Drew, Assemblymen Nelson Albano and Matt Milam, representatives from the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts (MAC) and those involved with the restoration project will be making remarks before an official ribbon cutting.
The public is invited to climb the tower for free following the ceremony.
Fire Control Tower No. 23 was part of the immense Harbor Defense of the Delaware system known as Fort Miles. Built in 1942, the tower was one of 15 concrete lookout towers that helped aim batteries of coastal artillery, stretching from North Wildwood to Bethany Beach, DE.
Four were in Cape May County; the towers located in North Wildwood and Wildwood Crest were torn down, and a third tower is located inside Cape May’s Grand Hotel, Beach and Philadelphia aves.
With the Tower restored, visitors can climb to the sixth floor observation platform at the top and see equipment used to determine firing coordinates for massive guns on both sides of the Delaware Bay.
Each level of the tower includes interpretive panels and photos that explain the tower’s function, as well as Cape May’s important role in homeland defense during World War II.
The third level of the tower is dedicated to the brave men and women from the Cape May area who served during World War II and contains the “Wall of Honor” as well as “Cape May’s World War II Honor Roll.”
The tower is located on Sunset Boulevard in Lower Township near Cape May Point.
It is owned by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Parks and Forestry, and is leased to Cape May’s Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts.
The $1.3 million restoration of the tower, completed in 2008-09, was funded by grants from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, the New Jersey Historic Trust, the New Jersey Historical Commission and a Small Cities Block Grant administered by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs.
For more information, call 609-884-5404 or 800-275-4278, or visit MAC’s Web site: capemaymac.org.

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