More than 66 years after Paul V. Connors, a Stars and Stripes reporter died in the line of duty, he was honored with 76 other journalists at a Newseum solemn ceremony this week, notes Grumpy Editor.
The 77 names were added to the Newseum’s Journalists Memorial that pays tribute to reporters, photographers and broadcasters who died while on news assignments.
Adding Connors name was achieved after more than a decade of investigation, persistence and paper work by people connected with the military newspaper. Connors entered the Army in 1942 when he was a Boston Globe reporter.
The ceremony at the Newseum, Washington, D.C., on Monday commemorated 59 journalists killed in the line of duty last year plus 18 others who lost lives in prior years.
That expanded the list of names, etched on glass panels, to 2,084.
Connors was a special case, going back to World War II when, as a Stars and Stripes reporter working out of London, he accepted an assignment to fly on a B-24 in a 303 Bomb Group mission to Germany. The four-engine, heavy bomber went down in the Alps on Jan. 28, 1945.
Confusion on whether Connors was a regular crew member, rather than a reporter, caused the long delay in adding his name to the honored list at the Newseum.
Gerald Brekke, who worked alongside Connors in the WWII Stars and Stripes newsroom, initiated what was to become a lengthy effort to honor Connors. It started with an August, 2000, visit to the Newseum when Brekke noticed his friend’s name was missing from the Journalists Memorial.
However, in 2006, during the long process seeking to correct the omission, Brekke died.
Frank D. Praytor, of Albuquerque, a former Stars and Stripes staffer from the Korean War period, picked up and renewed the effort with information from letters, military reports and flight records, aided by research assistance from Sue Mayo, archivist and librarian at the Stars and Stripes Museum/Library, Bloomfield, Mo.; Max Lederer, publisher, Stars and Stripes, Washington, and Joe Schneider, San Diego, editor of the Stars and Stripes Association newsletter.
The 250,000-square-foot, seven-level Newseum displays five centuries of news history with modern technology and exhibits.