Dana, Indiana Featured in the New York Times

Dana, Indiana Featured in the New York Times
Photo Credit: The City of Albuquerque

Last Thursday, the New York Times posted an article on Dana, Indiana and the Ernie Pyle Museum.

The piece, written by “This Land” columnist Dan Barry, highlights the struggles of the museum and its recent loss of precious artifacts related to Ernie’s work.

To read the article, click here.

I am appreciative of Dan Barry, the New York Times, and Nicole Bengiveno (photographer) for running this well-deserved piece on a town near and dear to my heart and to many others. I can only hope that this national attention will help save the museum and the town from further loss.

Not that it will ever reach him, but here’s the thank you letter I sent Mr. Barry:

Mr. Barry:

Thank you for your recent article, “Some Artifacts are Gone, but Not Pride in a War Correspondent Who Mattered.”

Your profile of Dana, Indiana is a well-deserved one.

I am a 30-year-old writer living in North Carolina. My parents named me after Dana, Indiana, for the very reasons of heroism and small-town virtues highlighted in your piece.

My grandparents, WWII veterans, moved to Dana after the war and remained there until their deaths in 2004. They ran the grocery store and raised three boys.

After my parents divorced when I was six, my mother and I left Indiana for North Carolina. I spent my subsequent summers in Dana, where my grandparents instilled in me the importance of my namesake. They took me on frequent visits to the Ernie Pyle museum and taught me the virtues of “The Greatest Generation.”

My summer visits to Dana became the mainstay of my adolescence. I jitterbugged to the Glenn Miller Band at the annual Ernie Pyle Festival (now called Dana Fireman’s Festival), learned the lyrics to all the Andrews Sisters’ tunes, and wandered the back alley behind the Ernie Pyle museum, day-dreaming of becoming a writer.

Thank you for shedding light on Dana’s struggles and offering it national attention. It’s vital for my generation to be aware of the impact these heroes had on our national consciousness.

Sure, it can be a pain to drive the 74 miles from Indianapolis to see Ernie’s work in what appears at first glance to be a dumpy old town. But Ernie and his artifacts belong in Dana—central to a community who nurtured the young man who forever shaped the face of journalism.

Kindest regards and thanks,

J. Dana Trent, MDiv

Editor’s Note (November 21, 2011): I received a very nice, unexpected reply from Mr. Barry. I was honored he wrote back, and even more honored that he had visited Dana and represented her so well. Thanks, Mr. Barry!


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