According to a Pulitzer Prize-winning newsman and war reporter, “Richmond is a blot on the fair, clean name of Indiana!”
Ernie Pyle was one of the best-loved reporters in the United States. He wrote with sensitivity and humor about American troops in World War II and traveled with the military to nearly every front in Africa and Europe.
In June of 1938 he had leisurely driven across the Indiana and had a “collision” in Richmond that outraged him.
In his words: “A small white streak flashed across our vision. There was a rending swish-splash – and presto, the yellow of a huge egg was running over my hood, just back of the radiator!”
Ernie Pyle had been egged on Main!
The culprits were four high school boys.
Pyle later wrote the Palladium, “Possibly this country needs young men who still retain their zest for childlike hellishness…. So I would not have these young men spanked. I would merely have their jaws broken and all there teeth knocked out!”
The revered journalist’s ire was up, but he was really gentle at heart. He wrote movingly about American troops and later traveled to the Pacific war theatre, to the island of Ie Shima. On April 18, 1945 when a sniper fired on his jeep, he took cover with several others in a ditch. When he had raised his head to see if “his boys” were safe, he was instantly killed by a bullet.
A picture was snapped of him clad in Army fatigues, boots and helmet, lying on his back. Except for a thin trickle of blood from the corner of his mouth, he might be asleep.
Ernie Pyle was the most celebrated war correspondent of World War II. Today the only building on the Indiana University campus named for a student is named Ernie Pyle Hall.
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