Tuesday, June 6, 2023


From Anecdotal Evidence, Those Both Dead and Alive Who Did It for You:
Now that it is over it seems to me a pure miracle that we ever took the beach at all. For some of our units it was easy, but in this special sector where I am now our troops faced such odds that our getting ashore was like my whipping Joe Louis down to a pulp. . .
Note Ernie Pyle’s use of the first-person plural – “we” took the beach, “our units,” “our troops.” Pyle could assume his readers – tens of thousands of them back home -- shared a unanimity of purpose with the troops on June 6, 1944 -- D-Day. At a symbolic though not trivial level, Pyle and his readers were invading France, retaking Europe, defeating Hitler. Such a consensus – call it reflexive patriotism – seems impossible today. On June 6, an estimated 4,414 Allied soldiers were killed, of whom 2,501 were Americans. The rest were from the United Kingdom and Canada. Pyle continues his thought:
In this column I want to tell you what the opening of the second front in this one sector entailed, so that you can know and appreciate and forever be humbly grateful to those both dead and alive who did it for you.
.... Pyle covered the war from December 1940 until April 1945. He filed dispatches from Great Britain, North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France and the Pacific. On April 18, 1945, he was killed by Japanese machine-gun fire on the island of Ie Shima near Okinawa. .... (more)
The quotations are from Ernie’s War: The Best of Ernie Pyle’s World War II Dispatches

Patrick Kurp, "Those Both Dead and Alive Who Did It for You," Anecdotal Evidence, June 6, 2023.

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