Monday, February 4, 2008

'Death' Photo of Ernie Pyle Finally Surfaces

Richard Pyle (no relation) reports for the Associated Press in Editor & Publisher, February 3, 2008, on the first known publication of a photo taken shortly after war correspondent Ernie Pyle was killed on Le Shima, a small island off Okinawa, on the 18th of April, 1945.

Seeing this in today's paper sent me to my bookshelf, to Home Country. It collects some of what Ernie Pyle wrote in the mid-1930s "as a roving reporter with no destination and no assignment other than 'a piece a day'" for the Washington Daily News. His roving included stops in his native Indiana; here is the conclusion of "Hoosiers".
"When are you going to leave?" my mother asked.

"I've got to leave right after breakfast.," I told her. "I'm way behind in my work."

And she said, "Aw, you're always in such a rush."

"Yes, but I've got to go," I told her.

And she said, "Do you know what?"

And I said, "No, what?"

And then she laughed a while before she could speak, and finally she stopped and reached out for my hand, and said, seriously, "Some of these days you're going to die. And when you do the world will get along just fine without you. Do you know that?"

And I said, sort of on the defensive, "Yes, I know it plenty. But as long as I'm in the world I've got to keep rushing around and trying, haven't I? A fellows got to. You always did yourself. You wouldn't want me to just stop and go on relief, would you?"

And then she said, no, she wouldn't want me to go on relief. And that's all we ever said about it.

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