A Hero Returns – A Pulitzer Prize Winning Photograph 1944

By Earle Bunker, The Omaha World-Herald

Technical Details
4×5 Speed Graphic
Film Kodak
Lens 127 mm
Shutter & Aperature Unknown

In 1943, Villisca, Iowa was a hamlet of eleven hundered people about fifty miles southeast of Omaha, nearly lost on the great prairies that sweep across America west of Chicago. On a road map, Villisca rated just one type size larger than the names of the smallest of villages; it was the essence of small-town America, a town that recognized its heroes.

On July 15, 1943, Lt. Col. Robert Moore retunred to Villisca from a distant war. The Omaha World-Herald assigned Earl Bunker to cover the story because Moore was a hero, the real thing. Here was a chance for him to make a picture about the war that would be different than the depictions of combat hellfire that filled the news pages in the early 1940s, a chance to reveal the depth of emotion the war stirred in families thoughout the country.

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