According to news reports, individual testimony, and historical photographs, the first thing Americans did when they first heard the news of the D-Day invasion, was they prayed. Nationwide stores closed and regularly scheduled prayer services were held in major cities.
Keith Huxen, a senior director at the National World War II Museum explains:
“The reaction of many Americans, whenever they found out what was happening that day, was to attend religious services. Churches and synagogues were reportedly packed across the country.”
Many stores closed: for prayer.
And prayer services and intercession were scheduled every hour in major cities.
In New York City, several special prayers services were held at noon and later in the evening. And, New York City’s mayor, Fiorello La Guardia, led New Yorkers in prayer at a D-Day rally in Madison Square Garden. Those attending and listening at home on the radio, heard their mayor proclaim:
“We, the people of the City of New York, in meeting assembled, send forth our prayers to the Almighty God for the safety and spiritual welfare of every one of you and humbly petition Him to bring total victory to your arms in the great and valiant struggle for the liberation of the world from tyranny.”
The New York Stock Exchange observed two minutes of silence.
And nationwide, millions of Americans heard on the radio Franklin D. Roosevelt encourage them to pray:
“Many people have urged that I call the Nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.”
Prayer was the focus during wartime. Americans looked to God to end the war that killed over 400,000 Americans.
Even veterans who have returned to the scene of the bloodiest and largest amphibious invasion in history: return to pray.