NEWS-SENTINEL EDITORIAL: It’s about time there’s a move to honor World War II Hoosier war correspondent Ernie Pyle
There is a move in Congress to designate Aug. 3, 2018, as National Ernie Pyle Day to honor the famed World War II Hoosier war correspondent.
Indiana’s two U.S. senators, Republican Todd Young and Democrat Joe Donnelly, introduced a resolution to that effect a little over a week ago. Last week, Rep. Jim Banks, (R-3rd District), announced he is also preparing a similar resolution.
We think that’s a great idea.
In introducing House Resolution 648, Banks said in a news release, “Ernie Pyle is one of the most beloved and respected war correspondents in our nation’s history. His reporting consistently showed the courage and sacrifices of our nation’s service members during World War II. There is no better way to celebrate the legacy of this distinguished Hoosier than to dedicate a national day in his honor.”
Ernie Pyle, who was born on Aug. 3, 1900, on a farm near Dana, was a member of the first class of journalists inducted into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame in 1966. Pyle studied journalism at Indiana University but left school before graduating to take a newspaper job at the LaPorte Herald. He ended up with the Scripps-Howard newspaper chain, for which he would do his Pulitzer Prize-winning war reporting.
One year after the U.S. entered World War II in December 1941 after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, Pyle was sent to Northern Africa where he witnessed his first battle action. From then on, his columns brought the reality of war into millions of homes across the country through daily newspapers. Pyle was killed doing his job on an island west of Okinawa on April 18, 1945, when he was struck by Japanese gunfire. The famous war correspondent is memorialized at the Ernie Pyle World War II Museum in Dana by the Friends of Ernie Pyle, a nonprofit organization that rescued his birth home from demolition in the mid-1970s and took ownership of the site from the state of Indiana in 2011.
“His legacy is not just his writing,” Stephen Key, executive director of the Hoosier State Press Association and a member of the site’s board, told writer Andrea Neal in a story about Pyle last year. “He told family members back home what their loved ones were experiencing. When you read his columns, you can almost see and hear and smell what was going on.”
Pyle deserves to join the likes of Rosa Parks (Dec. 1) and the Wright Brothers (Dec. 17) with his own national day of recognition.