Remembering Ernie Pyle

Journalist Ernie PyleErnie Pyle, a hero of ours, was born 117 years ago today on a farm near Dana, Indiana, on August 3, 1900. He’s best remembered today as a war correspondent during World War II. Pyle repeatedly put himself in harm’s way, positioning himself with the troops at the front lines so that he could tell the stories of the common soldiers, sailors and airmen who were fighting the war. His courageous approach to reportage made him beloved by folks back home who were eager to have some sense of what their loved ones were experiencing overseas.

But even before he devoted himself to covering the war, Pyle was a groundbreaking journalist. In the early thirties, he was the most respected writer in the country who covered the aviation beat, and from the mid-’30s through the United States’ entrance into World War II, he traveled the country’s back roads and byways, writing a syndicated column for Scripps-Howard about the people he met while traveling and the things he saw.

Here’s a story we wrote for the Guideposts magazine website about Pyle’s life and career.

Happy birthday, Ernie, wherever you may be…

Ernie Pyle (with goggles) converses with a tank crew from the 191st Tank Battalion, US Army at the Anzio Beachhead in 1944

A Flower for Ernie Pyle

A colleague of ours went to Hawaii last week, with a few days spent on Oahu. We told her about the late, great Ernie Pyle, a journalist we admire greatly (for both his reporting during World War II and his travel writing of the 1930s, when he drove the byways of the USA and wrote about he found there), and asked her to snap a picture of his final resting place, if she should happen to visit the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (also known as the Punchbowl Cemetery).

To be honest, we didn’t think it very likely she’d be visiting the Punchbowl, but we figured, what the heck—can’t hurt to ask. We visited the Punchball in the early ’80s, when our family spent some time on Oahu, but we didn’t know much about Pyle at the time, and so didn’t seek out his grave.

Bless her heart, our colleague made a special trip to the Punchbowl and left a flower for Ernie on our behalf. We’re very touched by the gesture.

Ernie Pyle's grave marker