A reporter named Richard Pyle — no relation, he notes — writing for the Associated Press reports that a photograph of Ernie Pyle has surfaced, showing him dead, after he was hit by a Japanese machine gun bullet while reporting on U.S. troops, on the island of Ie Shima, on April 18, 1945.
Especially in black and white, the photo is not so macabre as to shock. Pyle looks peaceful, asleep, as Richard Pyle wrote. The value is historical. It’s a reminder that reporters, too, put themselves in harm’s way, to inform Americans about the world, providing the information our democratic republic needs to function well.
Remember to vote in your state’s primary elections this year. Deserve their heroism.
Earlier notes on Ernie Pyle:
- “Encore post: Ernie Pyle’s Typewriter,” after a History Detectives episode featured the typewriter
Photo surfaces of reporter Ernie Pyle’s death in World War II
09:12 PM CST on Sunday, February 3, 2008
NEW YORK – The figure in the photograph is clad in Army fatigues, boots and helmet, lying on his back in peaceful repose, folded hands holding a military cap. He could be asleep.
But he is not asleep; he is dead. And it’s not another fallen GI; it is Ernie Pyle, the most celebrated war correspondent of World War II. As far as can be determined, the photograph has never been published. Sixty-three years after Mr. Pyle was killed by the Japanese, it has surfaced – surprising historians, reminding a forgetful world of a humble correspondent who artfully and ardently told the story of a war from the foxholes.
“It’s a striking and painful image, but Ernie Pyle wanted people to see and understand the sacrifices that soldiers had to make, so it’s fitting, in a way, that this photo of his own death … drives home the reality and the finality of that sacrifice,” said James E. Tobin, a professor at Miami University of Ohio.