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12/7/2017 12:36:00 PM
A DAY FOR ERNIE: National Ernie Pyle Day proposal gains ground
Ernie Pyle, third from left, shares his cigarettes with Marines of the 1st Division at a rest stop along an Okinawa roadside. This photo was taken April 8, 1945, just days before Pyle was shot and killed. U.S. Marines Corps courtesy photo
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Ernie Pyle, third from left, shares his cigarettes with Marines of the 1st Division at a rest stop along an Okinawa roadside. This photo was taken April 8, 1945, just days before Pyle was shot and killed. U.S. Marines Corps courtesy photo

Michael Reschke, Herald-Times

The push for a national day recognizing Pulitzer Prize-winning World War II correspondent and Indiana University alumnus Ernie Pyle is gaining ground.

U.S. Rep. Jim Banks, a Republican from Indiana’s 3rd Congressional District, is working on a resolution similar to the one Indiana’s two senators — Republican Todd Young and Democrat Joe Donnelly — introduced last week. Senate Resolution 345 seeks to make Aug. 3, 2018, National Ernie Pyle Day.

“He played an important role in humanizing and personalizing World War II by covering mainly infantry soldiers and the great sacrifices they were making to keep us safe and secure and protect our way of life,” Young said.

The idea of a day celebrating the Indiana native isn’t new. It’s been recognized in New Mexico, where Pyle and his wife owned a home, for more than 70 years.

Pyle was a household name during World War II. He faded from the public consciousness shortly after his death in 1945, but a small group of people is working to keep his memory alive.

Pyle was born Aug. 3, 1900, in Dana, Indiana. He attended IU, but left without graduating.

He went on to become one of the nation’s best aviation reporters, said Owen Johnson, author of At Home With Ernie Pyle.

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