Push for ‘National Ernie Pyle Day’ underway

Photo of Ernie Pyle statue. (WISH photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A Senate resolution is gaining momentum in Congress that aims to honor Indiana University alum and famous World War II correspondent Ernie Pyle.

They’re trying to create a “National Ernie Pyle Day.”  At Indiana University in Bloomington, the legend goes Pyle left IU because of a broken heart. Truth is he left after a fight with a journalism professor. Four months later, he was reporting in Washington DC.

Pyle was born Aug. 3, 1900, in Dana, Indiana.  He then went on to become a roving correspondent for Scripps-Howard newspapers and one of the nation’s best aviation reporters. Then he later became one of the most well-known war correspondents. During World War II his columns were known to tell the story of the common soldier, not specific battle details.

Recently two senators, Republican Todd Young and Democrat Joe Donnelly, introduced Senate Resolution 345 which aims to make Aug. 3, 2018, National Ernie Pyle Day.  Owen Johnson, the author of “At Home With Ernie Pyle,” says we often forget the impact one journalist’s words can have on a nation.

“We forget that it took much longer for news and information to get from Europe or the Pacific back to the U.S. and so we weren’t getting Tweets or Facebook postings or something like that,” said Johnson. “His writing provided the understanding that was crucial to building morale for the war. He wasn’t saying we’re going to make the world safer, or preserve our American democracy, it was ‘we want to win the war and get home.’”

On April 18, 1945, Ernie Pyle was killed by enemy fire on the island of Ie Shima. After his death, President Harry S. Truman spoke of how Pyle “told the story of the American fighting man as the American fighting men wanted it told.”

The resolution 345 is currently being worked on in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Also U.S. Rep. Jim Banks, a Republican from Indiana’s 3rd Congressional District, is working on a resolution similar to the introduced by Indiana’s two senators.