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Ernie Pyle, War Correspondent

Friday, February 23, 2024

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“I write from the worm’s-eye point of view.” – Ernie Pyle, Here Is Your War, 1942

Ernie Pyle was born on August 3, 1900, on a farm in rural Indiana. Both of his parents were tenant farmers, but Pyle despised farming and desired a more adventurous life. That desire led him to enroll at Indiana University where he majored in economics but took as many journalism classes as possible.

Needing just one more semester to graduate, Pyle chose instead to take a job as a reporter for the Daily Herald in LaPorte, Indiana for the princely sum of $25 per week. Three months later he was offered a position with the Washington Daily News, a Scripps-Howard tabloid newspaper, and so off to the nation’s capital he went.

Shortly after arriving in Washington D.C., Pyle was named the copy editor, earning $30 per week. However, his wanderlust got the best of him and he and his wife Gertrude both quit their jobs to take a 9,000-mile cross country trip in their Ford Model T roadster. After working briefly for two different newspapers in New York City, Pyle returned to Washington and the Daily News where he became the first-ever aviation journalist, writing a popular syndicated column for four years. During that time, Pyle flew an estimated 100,000 miles as a passenger. "Any aviator who didn't know Pyle was a nobody," said Amelia Earhart.

After three years as managing editor of the Daily News, Pyle and Gertrude – known as “the girl who rides with me” – started traveling throughout the Western Hemisphere and writing about their adventures in a syndicated column called the "Hoosier Vagabond.” Its popularity brought Pyle national acclaim.

In 1942, Pyle became a war correspondent, covering the U.S. military in the North African campaign, the Italian campaign, and the Normandy invasion. He returned to America to recover from battle fatigue before reluctantly agreeing to report from the Asiatic-Pacific theater in January 1945. Three months later, Pyle was killed by a sniper on le Shima island during the Battle of Okinawa.

Ernie Pyle was buried, wearing his helmet, between an infantry private and a combat engineer. In tribute to their friend, the men of the 77th Infantry Division erected a monument that still stands at the site of his death. Its inscription reads: "At this spot the 77th Infantry Division lost a buddy, Ernie Pyle, 18 April 1945." Echoing the sentiment of the men serving in the Pacific theater, General Eisenhower said: "The GIs in Europe––and that means all of us––have lost one of our best and most understanding friends."

Ernie Pyle’s story brings to mind three important spiritual points. First, the Lord Jesus Christ willingly left heaven’s glory, where He was worshipped 24/7 by legions of angels, to take on human form and die for our sins. Truly, He stooped to a “worm’s-eye point of view” for “such a worm as I” (see Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed).

Second, we are to come to God in prayer with a pure and contrite heart and on bended knee (figuratively, if not literally) if we expect Him to hear and answer our petitions. And third, the Apostle Paul taught us to consider others better than ourselves (see Philippians 2:3 below).

"Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves." (ESV)

- Rev. Dale M. Glading, President

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