Up Front

A salute to our city, military veterans, and oysters.

BY Pat Bradford

Pat Bradford holds a bag of recycled oyster shells on the edge of
Bradley Creek at Airlie Gardens in 2019. WBM file photo.
Pat Bradford holds a bag of recycled oyster shells on the edge of Bradley Creek at Airlie Gardens in 2019. WBM file photo.

This is the fourth column written for me by contributing writer Christine Gonzalez since my injury. While my arm is better almost every day, the bone has not yet been pronounced unified and there are some major range-of-motion issues, so there is a path to healing still in front of me. Your prayers for continued healing are welcome.

Wilmington is the first World War II Heritage City. This is such a big deal that on September 2nd the 45th president of the United States bestowed this honor on our city from the USS Battleship North Carolina. Retired Navy Captain Wilbur Jones worked for 13 years to help mold the criteria for this honor, and you can read about the process in this issue.

During the ceremony President Donald J. Trump acknowledged Wilmington’s important role in WWII, with the shipyard making 243 naval and merchant ships.

There is a lot of history revisited in this issue, from the role of the ship chandler to a group that reminds us of the contributions made by black soldiers beginning in 1866 with the 10th Cavalry. Today this group rides motorcycles instead of horses.

Furniture restoration has become increasingly popular during the pandemic, either as DIY projects or orders for the professionals. We have a feature about reviving family heirlooms or thrifting treasures. Add to that Saltwash, a paint additive made by a local couple to give new wood a weathered, beach-cottage look.

November is also oyster time. We have a few recipes to share with your friends and family. A new eco-tourism program, the NC Oyster Trail, aims to lure visitors to explore the growing aquaculture farms and restaurants featuring locally grown oysters.

Revisiting the Airlie Gardens photo of me holding a bag of shells from early last year reminded us as a staff of the time photographer Allison Potter and I went to photograph crabs in Kenan Creek. I got stuck in thick, black ‘quick mud’ up to my waist. Allison not only risked herself to dig me out, but rescued my boots from the mire.

I am grateful for our staff covering all the bases during my recovery, and grateful that I was able to attend Prayer March 2020 in D.C. in September, due to the kindness of a young couple who let me ride along in the back of their new Prius.

As we think about the holidays ahead, it is a time to be thankful for living in a free country.

PEACE, love and joy to all.

Pat Bradford, Editor/Publisher

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