Most people remember Col. Kilgore’s line: I love the smell of napalm in the morning. That scene stands out as my favourite, but the thing I remember most is not that line but the one following it. The entire exchange reads as follows:
Kilgore: Smell that? You smell that?
Kilgore: Napalm, son. Nothing in the world smells like that.
Kilgore: I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed, for 12 hours. When it was all over, I walked up. We didn’t find one of ’em, not one stinkin’ dink body. The smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole hill. Smelled like… victory. Someday this war’s gonna end…
[Kilgore unhappily walks off]
Notice the blank, yet searching look in his eyes as he stares off into the distance while delivering that line. A better characterization of the carnage of war would be hard to find.