By the spring of 1944, the people of Spokane had grown accustomed to wartime news.
Every day, the headlines screamed from the pages of The Spokesman-Review and the Spokane Daily Chronicle, and they were bellowed by newsboys at the corner of Riverside and Post.
Everything changed on the morning of June 6. It was a day of confirmation: We were winning.
When the people of Spokane woke up that morning, they were greeted with a giant headline from The Spokesman-Review: “Invasion of France begun by Allied troops; parachutists first – naval, air forces aid.”
The next day brought more good news: “Invasion Forces fight way into France on 100-mile front; Nazis caught by surprise.”
That wasn’t entirely true; thousands of Americans died to win the beachheads at Omaha and Utah. But they didn’t die in vain.
By the time of the D-Day landings, the Inland Northwest had been at war for more than 2 1/2 years. Thousands of young men from around the country trained at Fort Wright, Felts Field, the Geiger Army Air Corps and the Farragut Naval Station at Lake Pend Oreille.
Women worked at the giant Velox Naval Supply Depot in Spokane Valley. Citizens scrimped to ration supplies needed by the troops.
At the same time, Spokane had sent 15,000 of its own to faraway battlefields. Everyone sought the latest tidbits – in print, on the radio or by word of mouth.
On June 17, more good news arrived: The Marines had landed in Saipan. Soon, the Japanese homeland would be within range of the new B-29 bombers.
But not all the news was good. “Bizarre robots attack England,” a Spokesman-Review headline announced in a reference to the V-1 flying bombs that Hitler was launching from bases in France.
Closer to home, Spokane citizens were chided for a lackluster effort in buying War Bonds. Inside the S-R, small headlines told of young men dying in faraway fields and seas.
More would perish in the months ahead – in France and Germany and on the islands of the Pacific. But if Spokane needed confirmation, it came on June 6, 1944.
We were winning.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox
Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.