Hoosiers across the state will celebrate the first ever National Ernie Pyle Day on Friday, the day the Indiana native and famed war correspondent would turn 118.
Ernie Pyle Legacy Foundation Executive Director Gerald Maschino hopes the celebrations will ensure the journalist lives on in the hearts of Hoosiers, and that newer generations will understand what Pyle meant to Americans of that time.
“He was so important in his journalism-style of writing, connecting with the common folks and etc. We’ve kind of lost that today,” Maschino says.
Maschino, whose wife is a relative of Pyle’s, worked with the offices of Senators Todd Young and Joe Donnelly to secure the national day of recognition for Pyle.
Here are some of the ways you can recognize the day:
Celebration at IU Bloomington
The Ernie Pyle Legacy foundation is sponsoring a celebration at Indiana University’s Franklin Hall. The festivities will kick off at 10 a.m. on Friday.
The event includes speeches from war correspondent Joseph Galloway and sculptor Tuck Langland, who crafted the statue of Pyle on IU’s campus.
Machino and Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton will also deliver a proclamation to highlight the significance of the day.
Visit the museum in his home town
The Ernie Pyle World War II Museum in Dana, Indiana recognizes Pyle’s birthplace and early life.
According to museum curators, Pyle was born in 1900 on a tenant farm in the rural western Indiana town.
The museum is open on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Sundays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for adults over age 55, and $3 for children ages 4-12.
Browse the extensive Ernie Pyle collection at the IU Lilly Library
The archival library at IU houses a lot of unique collections, including a set of newspaper clippings of Pyle’s columns and letters he wrote to his wife and best friend while abroad.
According to the IU newsroom, the collection includes 99 letters to his wife and 108 letters to former IU classmate Paige Cavanaugh.
The collection also includes carbon dispatches that Pyle sent his publisher while in the field.
The Lilly Library is open to anyone, not just those affiliated with IU. You can request to see the collection using the online request system.