Ernie Pyle reporting from WWII inspired this statue on the IU campus. Photo by Rodney Margison


In this time of political discord, when it seems the two major parties find it hard to agree on anything and the media is frequently demonized, the fact that two senators from Indiana—Todd Young, a Republican, and Joe Donnelly, a Democrat—jointly introduced a bill honoring a deceased journalist might raise some eyebrows. But maybe it’s not so surprising when that newsman is Indiana University alum Ernie Pyle. 

Senate Resolution 345, passed in December 2017, officially proclaims Pyle’s birthday, August 3, National Ernie Pyle Day.

Ernie Pyle reporting from the field in World War II. Courtesy photo

In celebration, the Ernie Pyle Legacy Foundation is organizing a public ceremony to be held in Franklin Hall on the Indiana University campus. The event begins at 10 a.m. on August 3 and will include speeches by war correspondent Joe Galloway and by Tuck Langland, who sculpted the statue of Pyle that stands just inside the Sample Gates. Community members and military veterans are encouraged to attend, and WWII veterans will be recognized.

“This country has often shunned veterans,” says Jerry Maschino, executive director of the Ernie Pyle Legacy Foundation. “Now, we are finally honoring them.”

Born and raised on a farm in Dana, Indiana, Pyle studied journalism at IU and is best known for the columns he wrote accompanying the general infantry in World War II. Those columns ran in 700 newspapers and earned him a Pulitzer Prize, the cover of Time magazine, and a movie, The Story of G.I. Joe, based on his experiences.

While other correspondents covered generals and their tactics, Pyle lived among the general infantrymen and wrote about them—how they used their helmets as wash basins, how they stumbled when marching at night, how they struggled in writing letters home  to convey what they’d experienced, how they buried their dead.

Pyle was killed by enemy fire on the island of Ie Shima on April 18, 1945.

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