Column: Delivering the news in Worthington on D-Day
Editor’s note: Former longtime Daily Globe Editor Ray Crippen died Dec. 27, 2015. We will continue to publish previously run “Isn’t That Something” columns on Saturdays, until further notice, as a tribute to Crippen. The following column first appeared June 13, 2009.
WORTHINGTON — Some American worker became eligible for full Social Security benefits one week ago. Some American man or woman turned 65.
Now think about this: that new retiree was born June 6, 1944. DDay. The Longest Day. The Allied invasion of Europe. The landings on the beaches of Normandy. If Pvt. Ryan was 20, Pvt. Ryan now is 85.
I remember that day of 65 years gone by, not as a war veteran but as a Daily Globe newspaper carrier. It was a fabled June day. Bright sun. No wind. Blue sky to eternity.
The Daily Globe was an afternoon newspaper in 1944, but the Globe went to press (about) 7 a.m. on D-Day. There was very big news to be told. I was delivering papers by 9 o’clock.
Most of my route was along 10th Street, beginning in the downtown with Dr. Covey and Mrs. Camery in apartments on the second floor of the Odd Fellows hall and continuing to Frank McCabe’s farmstead where the U.S. Post Office is today.
A strange mood prevailed at Worthington, a mood never duplicated. People were excited. Of course. There was a suggestion of happiness; the end was beginning. Adolf Hitler was getting his. There was a prevailing solemnity. Everyone knew that, minute by minute, U.S. soldiers were falling dead. Very many local families had soldiers in Europe.
Somehow the word was out that the Globe published early. Dick Torrance at 714 10th St., who once ran The Big Store at the corner of 10th and Second Avenue — Dick Torrance was waiting for me on the front sidewalk. He called me Old Money Bags. His question was something like, “What’s the latest you heard, Money Bags?”
H.T. Adams, across the street in the next block, was waiting for me. My route looped along one block of 11th Street. Herman Rehberg, always with a pipe, was waiting. I suppose I remember this because, being here that morning, there was no question we were living a day like no other.
I took a look at that D-Day paper this week. Huge headline: INVADERS PUSH ASSAULT. The sub-headline reported, Vast Army Moves in from Coast of France. … Another headline: 11,000 Aircraft Assist in Drive, Plaster Beaches.
The most curious thing in that D-Day morning edition was a single paragraph story set out in boldface at the top of the front page:
Newsman Reports No Nazi Guns at Work. “NEW YORK (AP) An NBC reporter who flew over 20 miles of the invasion coast this morning said not a single German coastal gun was firing in the entire invasion zone …”
Perhaps this made readers feel better. It was not true. Perhaps the NBC reporter was looking up, toward the sky, rather than down toward the beaches. German guns were shattering landing craft and all the men aboard them before they reached the shore. The surf at Normandy was red with blood.
A Daily Globe editorial written by V.M. Vance said, “Early this Tuesday morning, allied forces struck at the coastal areas of northern France. … Here in the United States it is well that we add our prayers to the mighty weapons with which our boys are armed … this sacrifice of American lives will be in vain if we fail to back it up. … We must resolve … that we will fight as hard to keep peace as we are now fighting to win the war.”
Worthington turned to its churches. Dr. W.J. Ratz at Westminster Presbyterian said “today is a day of prayer.” He said his church (on the site of the Nobles County Library) would be open for private meditation at 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. for the rest of the week. Pastor Rudolph Bloomquist at First Lutheran said the Lutheran church bell would be rung at 7:30 summoning all who wished to respond to an 8 p.m. prayer meeting.
Worthington’s Church of Christ was hosting its annual summer youth conference, Minn-Ia-Dak. Kids joined in a prayer meeting in the morning. They scheduled a second in the evening. Other special prayer sessions were announced for Emmanuel Evangelical Church, Mission Covenant Church and the Assemblies of God.
Sixty-five years gone by.