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RED BANK THROWBACK: PRAYERS, WEEPING AND NEWS OF WAR DEAD ON D-DAY

 

A story on page 1 of the first edition published after D-Day and (below) and ad sponsored by local businesses encouraging readers to buy war bonds.  (Photo by Brian Donohue. Click to enlarge.)

By BRIAN DONOHUE

Thousands gathered in churches and synagogues. Factory floors quieted as workers paused in prayer and “wept unashamedly.” Every store in town was shut down by order of the mayor and Red Bank Police Department.

The June 8, 1944 edition of The Red Bank Register paints a dramatic picture of town residents reacting to news of the Allied invasion on D-Day, eighty years ago this week. (The weekly paper was published two days after the  June 6 invasion).

 

“Red Bankers greeted D-Day Tuesday with a prayer for the success of the invasion and the safety of those engaged in the attack”, the paper reported.

More than an estimated 1,000 people people gathered at the Presbyterian Church after a sound truck toured the town announcing a 1pm service. Gatherings were also held at St. James Church and B’Nai Israel synagogue. Mayor Charles English ordered stores closed between 1 and 2 pm, with police helping carry out the order and 100 percent of businesses complied.

The next day at the Sigmund Eisner Company factory (in the building that now houses the Galleria) 2,000 workers stopped the work of producing uniforms for the troops and listened to prayers delivered over the factory loudspeaker system by a Catholic priest, a rabbi and a Methodist minister.

“Many workers wept unashamedly,’’ the paper reported, “as they though of dear ones whose patriotism and devotion to duty had carried them into the fierce battle on a grim mission.”

Indeed, the pages of the paper are also filled with articles highlighting local servicemen wounded, captured or killed while fighting overseas in World War II

There’s a story about Horace MacDonald, a Leonardo man wounded in the Mediterranean. Bombardier Theodore Wigdoriwitz of Red Bank and Joseph Church of Fort Monmouth being held as a prisoners by the Nazis. And Patsy Borelli of Red Bank, killed in action in Italy. 

 

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