Not many people know about Ed Kennedy today, but on May 7, 1945, his name was on a dispatch from France announcing Germany's unconditional surrender.
It was the biggest scoop of the Second World War, and it got Kennedy turfed out of Europe and fired by the Associated Press.
Why? He was a day early -- according to the military hierachy and the politicians.
Nearly 20 reporters, including Kennedy, were at the signing of the capitulation in a school house in Reims on May 7. All were prepared to file on the historic moment, but politics -- in the form of Joseph Stalin -- got in the way.
Stalin wanted a surrender in Berlin on May 8 for propaganda purposes. Harry Truman and Winston Chuchill acquiesced, and the story was embargoed.
But censors allowed German radio to announce the surrender. An outraged Kennedy, feeling that he and his colleagues had been betrayed, argued that the cat was well and truly out of the bag and that the story certainly posed no threat to troops, since hostilities were over.
When he was rebuffed, he thought about it for a few minutes, got even angrier, and filed anyway, using a military phone to contact the AP office in London, which sent the story out right away.
The result was instant street celebrations in cities around North America.
The brass was furious. Kennedy was recalled to the U.S. in disgrace, and the Associated Press publicly reprimanded and subsequently fired him. He wound up at a couple of smaller newspapers in California before dying in a car accident in 1963.
But by then, he'd written a memoir, one that is being published soon. Its introduction was co-written by Tom Curley, the retiring head of the venerable wire service. Curley said in an interview: "It was a terrible day for the AP. It was handled in the worst possible way." He is correct.
Censorship in wartime is a necessary evil to protect lives. Entire books have been written about it, including The Fog of War, by Mark Bourrie, which I've just finished and which makes reference to the Kennedy case.
But when censorship becomes merely a political propaganda tool, as it clearly was on May 7, 1945, then it's wrong. Kennedy did the right thing, but it cost him dearly. I'd like to think I'd have had the same guts, but I rather doubt it.
Associated Press is to be applauded for apologising for its treatment of one of its most seasoned -- and courageous -- war correspondents. It's just too bad it took 67 years.