Hear the Liberty Bell Ring on D-Day

On June 6, 1944, the Allied invasion of the beaches of Normandy began. Operation Neptune, the naval component of Operation Overlord (commonly referred to as D-Day), was the largest seaborne invasion in history. The operation began the liberation of France and marked the turning point for Allied victory in World War II.

While the exact plans of the massive operation were cloaked in secrecy, the invasion was heavily anticipated. On the home front, Americans anxiously huddled around the family radio for news and updates. To lift the national spirit and stoke the fires of patriotism and hope, a special broadcast was planned – with one very special guest.

What the Liberty Bell Sounds Like

Image: Mayor Bernard Samuel of Philadelphia in a rehearsal for the D-Day bell ringing, May 16, 1944. 

The Liberty Bell, un-rung since its fateful crack in 1846, would sound the coming liberation. The announcer soon crackled to life. “Silent through the years, this bell once more peals out the strokes of Liberty.” Philadelphia Mayor Bernard Samuel, summoned to Independence Hall at the first flash of the invasion, resolutely tapped the Liberty Bell with a cushioned mallet seven times, one stroke for each of the letters in the word “Liberty.” Bells across the United States and Canada then rang in solidarity.

Listen to the Liberty Bell ring on June 6, 1944

Thanks to WIP CBS Radio and the National Park Service, you can listen along as the Liberty Bell sounds L-I-B-E-R-T-Y.

Hear the Liberty Bell ring in a brief clip from the nationwide broadcast.

Because of the bell’s crack, repair work, and internal support structure, the E-flat tones of the Liberty Bell sounded punctuated and tinny. But the word and the spirit the tolls embodied rang out with a resounding triumph. Before the invasion began, General Eisenhower told the troops, “The eyes of the world are upon you.” So were the ears. In a little more than a year, the deadliest conflict in human history would be over.