'At Last We Have Come to D-Day'

In the June 7, 1944, edition of her newspaper column My Day, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt reflected on the news of the D-Day landings in Normandy and the long path ahead to victory in Europe.

Troops and crewmen aboard a Coast Guard manned LCVP as it approaches a Normandy beach

Top Photo: Troops and crewmen aboard a Coast Guard manned LCVP as it approaches a Normandy beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944. Photograph from the U.S. Coast Guard Collection in the U.S. National Archives.

Eleanor Roosevelt's My Day columns were a series of newspaper articles written by the First Lady between 1936 and 1962. Published six days a week in newspapers across the nation, her columns offered a snapshot of her daily life and thoughts on important issues.

In honor of the 80th anniversary of D-Day, this column was republished by permission of the estate of Eleanor Roosevelt.

WASHINGTON, Tuesday, June 7 , 1944 - So at last we have come to D-Day, or rather, the news of it reached us over the radio in the early hours of the morning on June the 6th. The first people I saw seemed very much excited. Curiously enough, I have no sense of excitement whatsoever. It seems as though we have been waiting for this day for weeks, and dreading it, and now all emotion is drained away.

All the preparation that has gone on, the endless photographing, the endless air raids, the constant practice of the men in landing, or in whatever their specialty may be—this is now ended. The fact that boys you know have been waiting with an almost desperate feeling for this day, when all their training would be tested, made you dread it and yet hope for it.

The time is here, and in this country, we live in safety and comfort and wait for victory. It is difficult to make life seem real. It is hard to believe that the beaches of France, which we once knew, are now places from which, in days to come, boys in hospitals over here will tell us that they have returned. They may never go beyond the water or the beach, but all their lives, perhaps, they will bear the marks of this day. At that, they will be fortunate, for many others won't return.

This is the beginning of a long, hard fight, a fight for ports where heavy materials of war must be landed, a fight for airfields in the countries in which we must operate. Day by day, miles of country may be taken, lost and retaken. That is what we have to face, what the boys who are over there have been preparing for and what must be done before the day of victory. That day is coming surely. It will be a happy and glorious day. How can we hasten it?

The best way in which we can help is by doing our jobs here better than ever before, no matter what these jobs may be. Every unauthorized and unwarranted strike is an added danger to the boys over there, and a man or woman leaving a war plant today adds to some soldier's load. But on the other hand, we should remember that every employer who forces his employees into a position from which they see no way out except to strike is as guilty as the strikers. I have seen so many condemnations of strikers, but I have seen little recognition that there are always two sides to any dispute. Therefore the responsibility for whatever happens today which slows up production, which we need so desperately in every theater of the war, does not lie with one group alone.

E. R.

Copyright © 1944 Eleanor Roosevelt.