Going Into D-Day With the Bible

In the hours before the Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944—D-Day—troops were preparing to land on a 50-mile stretch of French coastline.

Two days before, Chaplain George Russell Barber conducted church services on 11 different ships—distributing thousands of small “Service Testaments” provided by The Gideons International. Barber quoted Psalm 23, attempting to comfort the anxious troops, and on D-Day, Lieutenant Colonel Barber led his men onto Omaha Beach under intense enemy fire.

Hundreds of soldiers were killed. In the water was a scene Barber never forgot: small Bibles floating everywhere. As men in the water died in his arms, Barber quoted Jesus’s words from John 14:1–2: “Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in me.”

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