Donate to the Ernie Pyle Memorial & Veterans Park

Join the Friends of Ernie Pyle in our effort to build the Ernie Pyle Memorial and Veterans Park on the property adjacent to the museum in Dana, Indiana. The park wil include a bronze statue of Pyle, a memorial to our veterans, benches, tables, gardens, food truck parking, trees, a bandshell, accessible restrooms and greenspaces. Your generous donation will help honor Pyle and our fighting men and women. 

Donation options
  • 5-Star General $25,000+
  • General $15,000-$24, 499
  • Brigadier General $10, 000-$14,999
  • Colonel $5,000-$9,999
  • Lt. Colonel $2,500-$4,999
  • Major $1,000-$2,999
  • Captain $500-$999
  • 1st Lieutenant $250-$499
  • 2nd Lieutenant $100-$249
  • Private $25-$99

 

Mail your donation to Friends of Ernie Pyle Development Fund, Inc., P.O. Box 345, Dana, IN 47847 or donate via Paypal here.

Join us: Ernie Pyle author to visit Dana, Indiana Dec. 5 for book signing

Join us 7 p.m. EST Tuesday, Dec. 5 in Dana, Indiana for a special visit by author David Chrisinger who will be signing copies of his new book, “The Soldier’s Truth: Ernie Pyle and the Story of World War II.” The event will be held at the Dana United Methodist Church, 260 N. Linden, map below. Copies of the book will be available for $20.

Read the Friends of Ernie Pyle newsletter story about Chrisinger here.

Visit Chrisinger’s website here.

‘The Soldier’s Truth’: Book tells story of WWII through Ernie Pyle’s experiences

David Chrisinger was looking for his grandfather when he stumbled upon Ernie Pyle.

It might be better to say he was looking to understand his grandfather, a WWII veteran who he had last seen on a visit when he was an eighth-grader.

“He was almost like an exhibit in a museum. ‘The Lasting Effects of Unaddressed Combat Trauma,’ his display placard would have read,” Chrisinger wrote in a piece for The New York Times. “Only no signage existed to explain what I saw and what it all meant.”

Chrisinger is a journalist and author who serves as the executive director of the Public Policy Writing Workshop at the University of Chicago. He is also the director of writing seminars for The War Horse, a non-profit newsroom focused on telling stories about the human impact of war.

The search for this grandfather and then Pyle came together in his book, “The Soldier’s Truth: Ernie Pyle and the story of WWII.”

In 2016, Chrisinger traced his grandfather’s path to Okinawa where he served during the war. A tour guide asked if he wanted to make a tracing of a name etched on the Cornerstone of Peace memorial there commemorating the Battle of Okinawa, perhaps someone his grandfather had known. More than 240,000 names of people killed during the battle are inscribed — Americans, Japanese, soldiers, civilians.

“My grandfather was very tight-lipped about his experiences. He didn’t stay in contact with anyone, he didn’t go to reunions, he didn’t talk about old friends,” Chrisinger said.

The tour guide suggested someone everyone felt they had known, Ernie Pyle.

Chrisinger said he recalled in the moment that Sylvester Stallone’s Vietnam movie character, John Rambo, was inspired by a name on the Vietnam Veteran Memorial Wall. He said he’s embarrassed now to say his first thought was if Ernie Pyle was likewise the inspiration for Gomer Pyle — the endearing Marine character played by Jim Nabors in the 1960s sit-com. 

“The tour guide looked at me like I had two heads. He couldn’t believe that I didn’t know about Ernie Pyle,” Chrisinger said.

“He said, ‘If you’re trying to figure out what it was like to be a soldier during WWII, if you’re trying to sort of put yourself in your grandfather’s shoes, you’ve got to read everything Ernie Pyle ever wrote.’ ”

The first book Chrisinger bought at a used book store was “Brave Men.”

“I just devoured it. The thing that I think made Ernie so intriguing to me was his ability to humanize a really abstract and chaotic and terrible thing that is war and put a face on it — and not just a face but a face you knew and could recognize.”

“The quality of his writing read like letters. He was letting you into this world,” Chrisinger said. “You could just tell that he was constantly trying to translate the experience for the folks back home.”

“What is the Ernie-ness about Ernie? What makes him such an irresistible figure after all these years?” — David Chrisinger 

From there, Chrisinger said he became fascinated with Pyle, a Midwestern kid and complicated man who went on to be come an unlikely, and yet the most famous, war correspondent.

Chrisinger got the opportunity to write about Pyle for the New York Times for the 75th anniversary of D-Day and he visited the museum in Dana as part of his research.

The piece, “The man who told America the truth about D-Day,”  was published online on June 5, 2019 and had a million views by noon the next day.

“I got hundreds of emails. Some people somehow found my phone and were texting me. People wrote me letters,” Chrisinger said. “People, all these years later, having a really visceral connection to this guy that they never met. It’s really incredible.”

Understanding that connection was part of what Chrisinger wanted to explore in his book. “What is the Ernie-ness about Ernie? What makes him such an irresistible figure after all these years?”

The War Horse, the organization Chrisinger works with to help veterans and people dealing with trauma tell their stories, was founded by Thomas Brennan. Brennan took the name from a phrase Pyle used to describe his return to covering the war after leaving the European theater: “I can go war-horsing off to the Pacific.”

Chrisinger said someone told him they thought that Pyle would be proud of the work he was doing to help veterans and that maybe Pyle would have done that kind of thing after the war — tell the stories of veterans to try to help inform people and help improve empathy, compassion and understanding.

 “I took that as one of the greatest compliments probably I’ve ever received.”

To read more about David Chrisinger and see his columns on Pyle, visit davidchrisinger.com.  

Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall Schedule of Events June 9-11

The friends of Ernie Pyle are hosting the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall at the International Paper Family Park, 4840 S. County Rd. 360 E. in Hillsdale, Indiana. Hillsdale is in West Central Indiana — about seven miles East of the Ernie Pyle WWII Museum in Dana.

The Wall will be open to the public 24 hours a day from 9 a.m. Friday, June 9 through 9 p.m. Sunday, June 11. More information and a map of the location here.

Download Schedule

Photo by Maureen Welsh.

Friends of Ernie Pyle receive Brouilletts Creek Solar community grant

June 1, 2023, Clinton, IN – Apex Clean Energy is pleased to announce three local groups as the recipients of the latest round of Brouilletts Creek Solar community grants – the South Vermillion Middle School (SVMS) Robotics Team, Friends of Ernie Pyle, and Town of Fairview Park.

The Community Grant program was launched in 2022 to support local organizations focused on improving our community in the following areas: Health & Recreation, Economic Development, Environmental Sustainability, and Education. Since its launch, the program has provided nearly $40,000 in grants to 14 worthy community causes.

Also receiving grant funding is The Friends of Ernie Pyle, a charitable, non-profit organization created to preserve the legacy of the Pulitzer Prize-winning World War II Correspondent Ernie Pyle and the generation that he covered as a reporter. The organization operates the World War II Museum in Dana, IN. The museum includes the Elder-Pyle farmhouse, which is the birth home of Pyle, and two Quonset huts that chronicle Pyle’s work as a war correspondent and shine a light on local veterans of World War II and the community’s support of the war effort.

Steve Key, President of the Friends of Ernie Pyle Development Fund, said “The Friends of Ernie Pyle greatly appreciate the support of Apex Clean Energy in our effort to improve the visitor experience to the Ernie Pyle World War II Museum. The donation helps provide permanent, ADA-accessible restrooms. The restrooms are one phase of an Ernie Pyle & Veterans Memorial Park that eventually call for a performance stage, landscaping and gardens, a display of Armed Services flags, and statue of the famed war correspondent who told the stories of the common soldier.”

Development Manager Meagan Van Vuren of Apex Clean Energy shared, “The goal of the Community Grant Program is to fund projects and programs that benefit the whole community. We’re thrilled to support these amazing organizations and the dedicated community leaders who are bringing these projects to life.”

Brouilletts Creek Solar’s ongoing commitment is to be a strong community partner to the residents, businesses, and community organizations working to improve Vermillion County. The program will continue to support pressing community needs and local organizations making a meaningful impact. To learn more or apply for a future grant, visit www.brouillettscreeksolar.com/grant.

About Brouilletts Creek Solar: A project of Apex Clean Energy, Brouilletts Creek Solar is a proposed solar energy project that is expected to have the capacity to generate up to 200MW of homegrown Indiana clean energy, enough to power close to 39,000 American homes while diversifying the local economy and supporting jobs in the community.

Situated in rural Vermillion County, the location has access to existing transmission lines on open private land and is highly suitable for a solar energy project. If approved, the project would create tens of millions of dollars in construction spending and millions more in new revenue for local governments.

For more information visit www.brouillettscreeksolar.com.

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