Monday, August 3, 2015

Did You Miss This World War II Anniversary?

Ernie Pyle, August 3, 1900- April 18, 1945

During the 1930's Ernie Pyle and his wife traveled the country, sending in posts about the places and people they visited. Ernie grew to know the U.S intimately, and Americans grew to know him. When he went off to war, the men he met in the front lines all knew him, and he knew the places they came from. It was a match that has never happened before or since between fighting men and the reporters covering them.

You have probably heard of some of Ernie's books. They are collections from columns he wrote during his travels in the 1930's and 1940's. Brave Men, Here Is Your War, and Home Country should be in every home. You probably have not heard of or read Ernie's Last Chapter, the brief collection of his travels in the Pacific in 1945. It's not as common as the other books, but it is available online, and I recommend it highly. Here is the beginning:

"To The Pacific War

The hour of leaving came at last.

When starting overseas, you don't usually get away on the day the transportation people originally set for you. I remember when I first started going to war, how impatient I was at delay, and how I fretted myself into a frenzy over waiting, But time changes things like that. Now, although there was a delay of a few days, I welcomed every one of them with a big embrace. I felt like saying to it, "Ah, my love, you are the day of my dreams. You are my one more day of security - How I cherish you."

But the final day came - early in February 1945 - and at last the hour. I put on my uniform again and sent my civilian clothes to a friend in Los Angeles to keep for me.

It was night when we left San Francisco. We flew in huge four-motored land plane operated by the NATA (Naval Air Transport Service). The Army's equivalent is the ATC. I've flown on both of them so much I feel like a stockholder. They fly all over the world on clocklike schedule, over all the oceans and all the continents, carrying wartime mail and cargo and passengers. I've flown the Atlantic four times, but this was my first flight across the Pacific."

Copyright 1945, Scripps-Howard Newspaper Alliance
Copyright 1946 Henry Holt and Company, Inc.

The 70th anniversary of Ernie Pyle's death on Ie Shima went unnoticed by the news hacks, so I guess he is not relevant to the mainstream media people today. Click Here to read the obituary from the New York Times on April 19, 1945.

Today is Ernie's 115th birthday, so take a few minutes to find the Last Chapter online. You can have it in your computer for under five bucks. You will enjoy reading every word.

No comments: