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From the Archives: D-day news arrives in Los Angeles

From the Archives: D-day news arrives in Los Angeles
June 6, 1944: Workers at the Douglas Aircraft Co. read about the D-day invasion in a Los Angeles Times extra edition. This photo appeared in the June 7, 1944, Times. (Douglas Aircraft Co.)

On June 6, 1944, news of the Allied invasion of France arrived in Los Angeles. Residents responded with prayer and a renewed sense of purpose.

The June 7, 1944, Los Angeles Times reported:

Los Angeles, named for the Queen of the Angels, turned to its patroness and to the Prince of Peace yesterday for help in winning the greatest battle in history.

In the Plaza de Justicia, beside the Hall of Records, 2000 looked to the blazing sunlight of the heavens in prayer at noontime while a breeze ruffled the flags of the United Nations.

In cathedrals, in temples, in tiny churches and in homes of rich and poor, the city prayed so that its sons and daughters in the armed forces may safely and speedily crush the dictatorial foes of liberty.

Mayor [Fletcher] Bowron, informed of the Allied confirmation of the invasion at his home, early suggested that everyone "go to churches or other appropriate places at 12:30 p.m." to pray for success and that a minimum number of lives might be lost .…

The Board of Supervisors, speaking for the county, made a similar plea. At the suggestion of Supervisor Gordon L. McDonough, who has three sons and a son-in-law in the armed forces and another to enter June 25, the board adjourned with the hope and prayer for an Allied victory .…

June 6, 1944: Douglas Aircraft Co. workers bow in silent prayer during lunch period. This photo was
June 6, 1944: Douglas Aircraft Co. workers bow in silent prayer during lunch break as the D-day invasion continued in France.. Douglas Aircraft Co.
June 6, 1944 special edition of the Los Angeles Times announcing the invsion of France.
June 6, 1944: A special edition of the Los Angeles Times announces the invsion of France. ProQuest

A different Los Angeles Times story reported on reactions at local defense plants:

There was no jubilation yesterday in the aircraft plants and the shipyards, but there was intense interest, a feeling of purposefulness.

"This is it" was the general feeling on D-Day: "let's get it over with."

When the public address systems blared out the news to the factory graveyard shifts, the reaction in each case was the same — a half minute of complete silence, then a simultaneous turn to work with an extra energy that had not been there a moment earlier .…

Douglas workers gathered at 11 a.m. in the Santa Monica plant's "punchbowl" recreation area for a moment of prayer and listened to news announcements during rest periods throughout the day. Newsboys outside the plant gates were besieged and sold out as fast as they received papers ….

This gallery includes images taken by Los Angeles Times staff photographers and images provided by Douglas Aircraft in Santa Monica.

Of course, all the people in the photos of residents reading invasion news were looking at the Los Angeles Times. In 1944, there was also the Los Angeles Herald, Los Angeles Daily News and Los Angeles Examiner.

This post was originally published on June 5, 2014.

June 6, 1944: Soldier William Stettnisch and sailor John Ledet read about the D-Day Invasion at 5th
June 6, 1944: Soldier William Stettnisch and sailor John Ledet read about the D-day Invasion at 5th Street and Broadway in downtown Los Angeles. Los Angeles Times Archive / UCLA
June 6, 1944: Marine Pvt. Calvin H. Laxson points out the invasion map to his daughter Cathryn, 3. T
June 6, 1944: Marine Pvt. Calvin H. Laxson shows the invasion map to his daughter Cathryn, 3. Los Angeles Times Archive / UCLA
June 6, 1944: Children in prayer at noon on D-Day at St. Josephs Church located at 12th and Los Ange
June 6, 1944: Children participate in a noontime prayer service at St. Joseph Church at 12th and Los Angeles streets on D-day. Los Angeles Times Archive / UCLA
June 6, 1944: Group reads about D-Day Invasion news at 5th and Broadway in downtown Los Angeles. Thi
June 6, 1944: A Los Angeles Times extra edition announcing the D-day invasion draws a crowd at 5th Street and Broadway in downtown L.A. Los Angeles Times Archive / UCLA
June 6, 1944: Mrs. Blanche Choate, Douglas worker received happy news on D-Day that her missing son,
June 6, 1944: Douglas employee Blanche Choate has a double reason to celebrate. In addition to the D-day invasion, she received word that her son, Tech. Sgt. Ronald Choate, who had been reported missing and possibly dead, is alive in a German prison camp. Douglas Aircraft Co.

See more from the Los Angeles Times archives here

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