April 18th marked the 70th anniversary of the death of WWII journalist and war correspondent Ernie Pyle.  Most young people know precious little about WWII and probably even less, if anything at all about Ernie Pyle.  Suffice it to say that he was a popular journalist of his time, a man committed to something larger than himself, and  a soldier’s friend.

There is an archive of his work maintained on the web by the Indiana University School of Journalism.  One of his more moving columns is The Death of Captain Waskow:

“In this war I have known a lot of officers who were loved and respected by the soldiers under them. But never have I crossed the trail of any man as beloved as Capt. Henry T. Waskow of Belton, Texas.

Capt. Waskow was a company commander in the 36th Division. He had led his company since long before it left the States. He was very young, only in his middle twenties, but he carried in him a sincerity and gentleness that made people want to be guided by him.

“After my own father, he came next,” a sergeant told me.

“He always looked after us,” a soldier said. “He’d go to bat for us every time.”

“I’ve never knowed him to do anything unfair,” another one said.

I was at the foot of the mule trail the night they brought Capt. Waskow’s body down….”

You owe it to yourself to follow the link and read the whole thing.  Pyle was killed by Japanese machine-gun fire on the Island of Ie Shima in 1945.  He is among the few civilians to have been awarded the Purple Heart.