On June 6, 1944, Allied forces commenced the invasion of Western Europe known today as D-Day. Chaplain Reverend James Shera Montgomery opened the June 7 meeting of the House with a prayer that reflected both the nation’s concerns and hopes:
“Just a word before we pray.
Some of our boys died last night in the crusade for freedom and humanity; some of our boys died last night who had looked through the glimpse of the future and claimed it as their own; some of our boys died last night who dreamed of a happy home and a circle of loved ones; some of our boys died last night in the front row of battle for the country they adored; some of our boys died last night beneath the skies of embattled France; some of our boys died last night for you and me that liberty may not die out of the human breast.”
Montgomery also quoted from a traditional hymn:
‘Break every weapon forged in fires of hate,
Turn back the foes that would assail Thy gate.
Where fields of strife lie desolate and bare
Take Thy sweet flowers of peace and plant them there.
Come, blessed peace, as when in hush of eve
God’s benediction falls on souls that grieve.
As shines the star when weary day departs,
Come, peace of God, and shine in every heart.’
Though more than 10,000 Allied soldiers were killed or wounded, including roughly 2,500 U.S. fatalities, during the first 24 hours of Operation Overlord, the D-Day invasion marked the beginning of the closing phase of World War II in Europe.Follow @USHouseHistory