"There is a dog still on the beach today...looking for its masters."
June 6, 2013 11:57 AM   Subscribe

Legendary war correspondent Ernie Pyle didn't get to Normandy Beach until the day after D-Day.

In a series of three columns, he described what he saw, and found.

"A Pure Miracle"

"The Horrible Waste Of War."

"A Long Thin Line Of Personal Anguish."
posted by timsteil (11 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite

A tennis racket on the beach, in its frame, among the bodies & wreckage. What an image. What a writer.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 12:57 PM on June 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

serious respect to anyone who jumped out of one of those Higgins boats
posted by thelonius at 12:57 PM on June 6, 2013

Pyle's war reportage is amazing. (He's fairly well known here in his native Indiana.) In the midst of incredible brutality, he captures the soldiers' humanity in such images as the tennis racquet or the soldier sleeping on the beach clutching a pebble. He even humanizes the German soldiers in their stunned reaction to the massive amounts of incoming supplies on the horizon.

One of Pyle's books, Brave Men, was named for the comments of a British officer Pyle quoted as he reviewed the aftermath of the disastrous Battle of Kasserine Pass. The officer noted the bodies of Americans killed by an overwhelming German attack, who died facing their enemy, and said simply, "Brave men. Brave men."

Pyle's war reporting is always a tribute to those and other brave men.
posted by Gelatin at 1:24 PM on June 6, 2013

Ernie Pyle was one of the writers I looked to as a model. His war reportage is justifiable famous, but his American Road Trip writing is likewise superb and well worth tracking down.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:31 PM on June 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you ever get the chance, the National WWII Museum in New Orleans is a good visit.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:32 PM on June 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Those three columns are among the ones collected in "Brave Men", which is very much worth reading.

Pyle didn't survive the war, of course. He was killed by a Japanese machine gun round in the head on Ie Shima, during the Okinawa campaign. The only real blessing about it is that death was instant; he didn't suffer.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 2:40 PM on June 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Those are amazingly well-written.
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:41 PM on June 6, 2013

Great stuff. Things like this make me thankful I was born far too late for this sort of thing.
posted by freakazoid at 6:08 PM on June 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

There are forty of his columns online at http://journalism.indiana.edu/resources/erniepyle/wartime-columns/, and I really like the MP3s of some professor reading them aloud. (Look for a small link under the photo accompanying each column.)

Pyle's writing style is very natural, and thus well-suited to listening as well as reading.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:43 PM on June 6, 2013

Bunny, I LOVE Pyle and didn't know about that book. And even more amazingly, I just found an epub of it at openlibrary.org. Yay! Thank you!
posted by wenestvedt at 6:56 PM on June 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

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