Thursday, June 5, 2014

I Covered the Longest Day in 1944

Seems as if I’ve written about this before, but I don’t see it when I look back in this blog, and it is what I remember every year when D Day comes around.  I was 18 then, and thanks to a severe labor shortage during The War, I was a full-time reporter on the local weekly newspaper, as well as county correspondent for four city dailies, for three summers.
   Not sure I realized just how desperate the situation was, how near England was to being conquered, that it was possible this country could lose that World War.  But even as a teenager I knew the significance of The Day, as boys my age, boys from my small town, finally waded ashore to invade the continent of Europe.
     So yes, I covered D Day.  The editor sent me out to report on the Village of Penn Yan’s reaction to the news that the invasion had begun.  How did I do that reporting, I wonder?  Certainly not by car.  I wouldn’t have a driver’s license until five years later – no automobiles manufactured for years past, gasoline rationed, tire replacements the biggest problem – for my generation, fresh from the Great Depression, even owning a bicycle was exciting. 

Silent open doors like these.

What I remember is walking the village streets on that sunny June day, and being struck by the quiet.  All the church doors were open.  I came to the Catholic Church on Liberty Street – the big front doors opened wide, dimly lit sanctuary with many candles burning, people here and there in the pews – and complete silence.  I walked to the Lutheran Church (lots of Danish immigrants in Penn Yan) – doors open, heads bowed, total quiet. On Main Street at the Presbyterian Church (where I often sang alto in the choir) – doors open, nothing happening, not a sound from the men and women sitting there.  Mostly women; the men were away at war. 
I remember it looking like this.

The whole town was silent, but I can still feel the waves of prayer, memories,  desperate hopes that flooded our town that sunny day. 
What do you suppose I wrote about it?  I have no clippings, no idea.  


1 comment:

  1. Thanks Edith. Don't suppose the PennYan Chronicle Express has an on line archive? Ha ha ha. CMS