People in Times Square watch the news ticker on the New York Times building.

People in Times Square watch the news ticker on the New York Times building.

By the time the sun rose in New York City on the morning of June 6, 1944, the first and second waves of American troops had come ashore under heavy German fire on the beaches of Normandy.

Working under the command of General Eisenhower, an armada of 5,000 ships brought troops to the beaches of Normandy, one of the largest in military history. Almost 150,000 troops stormed the beaches of Normandy on that summer day, and approximately 20,000 of those by parachute.

News of the invasion spread quickly that early morning in the streets of New York City. New Yorkers had their ears and eyes glued to radio stations and newspapers. The Daily News proclaimed in bold lettering: “INVASION BEGINS”. New York Times editors rushed to put out a special 6 a.m. edition, with a front page headline announcing the “Great Invasion is Under Way.”

The news carried the first terse communique from the Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Expeditionary Force: Under the command of General Eisenhower, Allied naval forces, supported by strong air forces, began landing Allied armies this morning on the northern coast of France.

President Roosevelt addressed the American public directly for the first time that evening, during his radio address. The address itself was conceived as a prayer, with Roosevelt asking God to bless the American war effort. He also called on the American people to continue their prayers into the coming days.

In churches and synagogues across Manhattan, people bowed their heads in prayer, while in Times Square, crowds craned their necks to watch the latest reports creep across the electronic ticker on the New York Times building.

The New York Stock Exchange observed two minutes of silence and in Madison Square, WNYC held a D-Day rally, featuring speeches and songs presided over by the city’s mayor Fiorello La Guardia.

Like Roosevelt, La Guardia led the city in a prayer, telling those gathered—and those listening at home on their radios: “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”.

New information was difficult for American media outlets to obtain; CBS World News’ radio program from the day makes multiple references to German media broadcasts, which were the main source of updated information.

Not only did the invasion of Normandy change the course of the war, but it changed the course of history. The operation would ultimately break the Nazi’s grip on Western Europe.

Crowds watching the electronic ticker on the New York Times building in Times Square as they waited for the latest reports.

Crowds watching the electronic ticker on the New York Times building in Times Square as they waited for the latest reports.

Two sailors smoke a cigarette and lean against as they apprehensively scan the latest news bulletins on the Times building.

Two sailors smoke a cigarette and lean against as they apprehensively scan the latest news bulletins on the Times building.

People gather in Times Square to watch the news ticker on the New York Times building.

People gather in Times Square to watch the news ticker on the New York Times building.

Worshippers enter a synagogue on 23rd Street for a special D-Day service.

Worshippers enter a synagogue on 23rd Street for a special D-Day service.

The packed noon mass at St. Vincent de Paul's church.

The packed noon mass at St. Vincent de Paul’s church.

Worshippers pray at noon mass at St. Vincent de Paul's church on 23rd Street.

Worshippers pray at noon mass at St. Vincent de Paul’s church on 23rd Street.

A woman prays at St. Vincent de Paul's church on 23rd Street.

A woman prays at St. Vincent de Paul’s church on 23rd Street.

Worshippers outside St. Vincent de Paul's church.

Worshippers outside St. Vincent de Paul’s church.

People praying.

People praying.

Two soldiers join the crowds as they expectantly wait for more updates.

Two soldiers join the crowds as they expectantly wait for more updates.

Crowds gather in Madison Square.

Crowds gather in Madison Square.

Thousands gather for a rally in Madison Square.

Thousands gather for a rally in Madison Square.

Sailors sit on their briefcases and lean against door frames as they wait for more news in one of the most significant developments of World War Two.

Sailors sit on their briefcases and lean against door frames as they wait for more news in one of the most significant developments of World War Two.

“Invasion News”.

A speaker addresses the rally in Madison Square.

A speaker addresses the rally in Madison Square.

The candid photographs capture the mood in the Big Apple.

The candid photographs capture the mood in the Big Apple.

A speaker addresses the crowds in Madison Square.

A speaker addresses the crowds in Madison Square.

The candid photographs capture the mood in the Big Apple.

The candid photographs capture the mood in the Big Apple.

Thousands of people watching the electronic ticker on the New York Times building in Times Square as they waited for the latest reports.

Thousands of people watching the electronic ticker on the New York Times building in Times Square as they waited for the latest reports.

Thousands gather in Madison Square for a rally led by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia.

Thousands gather in Madison Square for a rally led by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia.

Two men stand tersely on a street corner on the day that news broke.

Two men stand tersely on a street corner on the day that news broke.

Children salute the French flag at a French school in Manhattan.

Children salute the French flag at a French school in Manhattan.

A girl tends a victory garden at a school on 1st Avenue. Victory gardens, also called war gardens or food gardens for defense, were vegetable, fruit, and herb gardens planted at public parks in support of the Allied troops.

A girl tends a victory garden at a school on 1st Avenue. Victory gardens, also called war gardens or food gardens for defense, were vegetable, fruit, and herb gardens planted at public parks in support of the Allied troops.

(Photo credit: Library of Congress / Smithsonian).