Editor's note: Memorial Day in 1944 came just days before World War II was to crescendo in D-day — and was the last Memorial Day that famed war correspondent Ernie Pyle would observe. He would be killed in April 1945 by Japanese machine-gun fire. The next day, the St. Petersburg Times, edited by his old Indiana University colleague Nelson Poynter, published this front-page editorial. As U.S. troops return home from Afghanistan this year, it is a fitting epitaph for all the soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen who never made it back.
We Lose a Friend
Ernie Pyle liked people, and people liked Ernie Pyle.
As the circulation of his writing expanded, millions of people came to love this little guy that slogged along with the millions of other guys who are doing the fighting of this war.
Ernie hated suffering and violence and injustice. War magnifies these evils and therefore Ernie hated war. The millions of us who feel a personal loss with Ernie's death can perhaps hate war a little more today. Perhaps we can hate it enough to work to eradicate the causes of war.
That would be the finest tribute we could pay to Ernie.
Read one of Ernie Pyle's most famous columns on the back page.