DANA, Ind. (WTWO-WAWV) — He was 5 foot 6 and never weighed more than 135 pounds, but Ernie Pyle had a profound impact on American culture.

The Dana, Indiana native was arguably one of the greatest war correspondents. His writings dealt with the common man, who defended the nation during World War II, and his life and career are wonderfully showcased at a museum in Dana, but the museum also honors the veterans who served alongside Pyle.

If you visit the Ernie Pyle Museum, you might be greeted by Phil Hess and Eric Daniels.
They know so much about, not just about Pyle, but the many veterans from Dana who
defended the nation.

“The few stories we have about the 323 who went in uniformed service from dana, is a highlight
we’ve spent a lot of time working on that, ” said Phill Hess, former board member and Pyle expert.

Those people were common men and women just like Pyle. And many of them paid the
ultimate sacrifice, in fact, Hess says Dana’s casualty rate was 5 times more than the Army

Since 2015, the museum has been collecting photos of each of Dana’s veterans from World
War 2. They were definitely the definition of the common man.

Each photo has a story behind it and So many, of those who served were related, like the
Eaton family which paid a high price.

“His brother, Floyd, was in the tank destroyers and received a decoration the bronze star
for valor for destroying four tanks, including a tiger, and he was killed later in an engagement by
mortar fire, said Hess. Another brother was the first from Dana to get the purple heart, he’d been in a circus troupe, and spent three months in the hospital from a shrapnel wound. Another brother was a medic in Europe and his experiences shattered him. He spent the rest of his life in a soldiers’ home, he couldn’t cope with civilian life.”

It’s so appropriate that the wall of Dana veterans is one of first things you see in the museum,
because they are exactly the kind of people Pyle wrote about.

“Almost everyone thinks it’s just a hidden gem, it’s a wonderful museum and I agree,” said Eric Daniels, tour guide.

There’s so much to see in the museum.

The Wasco theater which tells the story about a soldier who was killed in action and that story
by Pyle eventually became the film the Story of GI Joe.

Almost every display, has a Pyle column as its centerpiece, like the D-Day invasion and Pyle’s
eloquent and descriptive writing.

So much to see, and to ponder, and people from around the world continue to make the trip to
Dana, the home of so many common men and women who did remarkable things, just like
Ernie Pyle