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D-Day

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June 6, 1944 is singular for the most memorable and significant event in the heritage of nations. In United States and world history, the day will always be known as D-Day.

The Fargo Forum printed two evening newspapers as news continued to break of the invasion. One headline posted in large black type: “Allies Push Inland, Invaders seize Beachheads on Normandy Coast.” The second late addition screamed: “Allies Gain 9 Miles, Nazi Opposition Slight, Losses termed Small.”

Parishioners in churches of all denominations in Fargo and Moorhead gathered in prayer in accordance with an invasion day proclamation, joining anxious congregations all over the country.

Commander and General Dwight D. Eisenhower bolstered his nation and the world’s free forces by proclaiming to the anxious public: “The eyes of the world are on you.” Ike also rallied American and allied troops by boldly proclaiming: “You are embarked on a great crusade.”

Local news reported that the community’s religious congregations would “be the strength in the first few hours of the invasion and, at the same time, solace in a bewildering time of need for spiritual strength.” North Dakota Governor John Moses proclaimed Invasion Day a day of prayer throughout the state.

The D-Day invasion force included 100,000 airplanes flying through a rolling ocean of clouds, according to the Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Expedition Force.

Two aspects of the air operations in support of the Normandy landing stood out. The first was the mass of aircraft the allies were able to put into the sky in weather described as “just fair.”

The other was the absence of German resistance. Four thousand ships and thousands of smaller landing craft transported the thousands of American, British, and Canadian sea-borne forces from England to France under the protection of 11,000 allied bombers and fighters. The report said the planes created havoc with the elaborate coastal system the Nazis had spent four years building.

President Roosevelt would again take to the radio that evening. All network radio programing scheduled for 10:00 was cancelled for a special invasion broadcast by the Commander in Chief.

The allied offensive had begun.

Dakota Datebook by Steve Stark

Sources:
The Fargo Forum, June 6, 1944, Evening Edition and secondary evening edition World War II, Online History site

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