News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

June 4, 2014

Pyle Museum raising funds to preserve legacy

DANA — The Ernie Pyle World War II Museum in Dana is launching a nationwide fundraising campaign to bolster its efforts to preserve and expand the famous war correspondent’s legacy.

The museum, located in Pyle’s hometown of Dana in west-central Indiana, is operated by the Friends of Ernie Pyle. It features Pyle’s birth home and adjacent Quonset huts containing memorabilia and multimedia presentations.

The museum no longer receives any state financial support so continuation of the site is dependent on entrance fees, funds from the local township, and contributions from individuals and organizations, Cynthia Myers, president of the Friends of Ernie Pyle, said in a press release.

While these funds have allowed the group to keep the museum open on weekends from May through Veterans Day in November, more needs to be done, the group said.

The site was originally developed and operated by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources as a state historic site. The DNR turned over operations of the site to the Friends of Ernie Pyle in 2011.

The fundraising launch coincides with the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion on the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944. Pyle walked the beaches the following day gathering information that would lead to several D-Day columns.

This is a special milestone for the generation of Americans who fought during that war, and the Friends of Ernie Pyle is dedicated to honoring their sacrifices, Myers said. The best way to do that is to preserve Ernie Pyle’s legacy. His honest and poignant writings connected GIs on the front lines to their worried families at home, and that is what endeared him to so many.

Pyle wrote columns for the Scripps Howard News Service during World War II, and by war’s end, they were delivered to more than 14 million homes, according to his New York Times obituary. As the war neared its end, a Japanese machine-gunner killed Pyle on the Pacific Island of Ie Shima near Okinawa in April 1945.

To be a part of this national tribute to Pyle and the generation he chronicled, individuals can go to www.erniepyle.org and make a donation. Donors can receive a special collector’s edition of the documentary “G.I. Joe: The story of Ernie Pyle;” a poster about the movie signed by its producer, Marino Amoruso; or a coffee table book, “Ernie Pyle’s War: In Words and Pictures.”

The Friends of Ernie Pyle is a charitable non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation governed by a 13-member board.

The museum is located in Dana on Indiana 71, one mile north of U.S. 36 in Vermillion County. The museum is open Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. Private tours can be arranged year-round by contacting the museum, 765-665-3633.

A special D-Day observance is scheduled for noon to 4 p.m. on Friday.

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