The day we didn't invade Normandy

Less than three minutes later the Associated Press killed the erroneous story. CBS again broke into the sportscast and retracted the report.

It was too late. NBC and the Mutual Broadcasting System followed CBS, reporting that D-Day had begun. In an instant, the “news” swept the nation. Shocked radio listeners telephoned friends. “The potency of the words stirred millions into electric activity,” reported the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. In New York City, Major League Baseball’s Giants and Pirates paused their game when the invasion was announced. “There were only 9,000 people at the Polo Grounds,” remembered one spectator, “but the roar that went up could have been from 90,000. We all leaped to our feet, yelled, pounded the backs of total strangers, and had mental images of the war’s ending soon. When the yelling subsided, the announcer said: ‘We ask that you all rise for a minute of silent prayer.’ ”

The New York Times reported that millions of people had heard the report on as many as 500 stations nationwide. It would later be revealed that a pre-planned news flash had escaped when Joan Ellis, a young typist in the AP’s London bureau, accidently pressed the wrong button on her teletype transmitter.