The 70th anniversary of Ernie Pyle’s death will be observed with a program and ceremony on April 18 at the Ernie Pyle World II Museum in Dana.
The event honoring the famed reporter is sponsored by the Friends of Ernie Pyle, an organization of volunteers that owns and operates the museum.
Pyle, a native of Dana, was a beloved World War II overseas correspondent for the Scripps news service.
After gaining widespread acclaim – and a Pulitzer Prize – for his reports from the battlefront in Europe and Africa as the war raged, he went to cover the war in the Pacific in 1945.
He was killed by a Japanese machine-gunner’s bullet on April 18, 1945, on the small island of Ie Shima, near Okinawa.
The Dana museum will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 18. A special program and ceremony is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.
Featured during the program will be a reading of the last column Pyle wrote before his death and a 21-gun salute in his honor by American Legion Post 140 of Clinton.
A special guest for the event will be Harry Momi, an Army veteran who took the last photo of Pyle before his death.
Momi, now 90 and a resident of Stockton, California, met Pyle on the evening of April 17, 1945, on Okinawa. He asked the famed war correspondent if he could take his picture. Pyle graciously allowed Momi to take the photo, which shows him sitting on top of a military tank.
Momi kept the photo in his possession through the years and recently donated the original photo to the Friends of Ernie Pyle for archiving and display at the museum. The photo will be on public display for the first time April 18.
Other guest speakers will include Evelyn Hobson, retired longtime manager of the Pyle historic site.
A plaque will also be unveiled during the program in honor of a $66,000 donation this year from a Vermillion County family. That donation made possible a large portion of recent renovations at the Pyle museum.
In recognition of the improvements and renovations, there will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Several Vermillion County World War II veterans will be present to cut the ribbon.
“Major renovations have taken place at the museum during this past winter, and this observance is the perfect time to celebrate the improvements,” said Cynthia Myers, president of the Friends of Ernie Pyle. “We invite everyone to come out to remember Ernie and honor all veterans.”
Refreshments will be served to those attending. Tours of the museum will be available for guests throughout the day. Admission will be free.
The Friends of Ernie Pyle is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to preserve and advance the legacy of Ernie Pyle in Dana and beyond.
For more information, contact board president Cynthia Myers at (765) 665-3633, or firstname.lastname@example.org.