August 3 – Ernie Pyle Day
By David Chrisinger
03 Aug 20

Each year on Ernie’s birthday, August 3rd, the Ernie Pyle Legacy Foundation celebrates National Ernie Pyle Day. In years past, the foundation has hosted events both in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at Ernie’s home, which has been converted into a branch of the public library and in Bloomington, Indiana, where Ernie went to college.

This year, for obvious reasons, the Foundation wasn’t able to host an in-person event. Instead, they partnered with Indiana University to create a tribute video featuring journalists, veterans, historians, and even yours truly. We all shared our stories of engaging with Ernie’s work and how we plan to continue his legacy far into the future.

The best part of being included in the endeavor was that I had the honor to talk on camera with famed war correspondent Joseph Galloway of We Were Soldiers Once…And Young fame. Not only did he cover four tours in Vietnam, but he also covered the First Gulf War, the Haiti Incursion, and two tours in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

I asked him whether Ernie’s work had anything to do with his decision to become a war correspondent. Oh yes, he said. When he was about twelve years old, in fact, he read Ernie’s first book, Here Is Your War, which is a compilation of his reporting from North Africa. He said he knew that was what he wanted to do, too. He wanted to be on the front lines, taking in the “worm’s eye view” of the war, helping to tell the stories of America’s fighting men.

At the end of our conversation—spoiler alert!—Mr. Galloway told me that the Foundation had selected me as their recipient of the first Ernie Pyle Legacy Award, for outstanding journalism that has helped honor the legacy of Ernie. I was so surprised, honestly! Such an honor.

If you’d like to hear me wax poetic about Ernie’s time in North Africa with the First Infantry Division, check out the talk I’m doing for the First Infantry Division Museum next month

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