Someday when peace has returned to this odd world I want to come to London again and stand on a certain balcony on a moonlit night and look down upon the peaceful silver curve of the Thames with its dark bridges.— Ernie Pyle
The most jaw-dropping Ernie Pyle quotes that are little-known but priceless
I love the infantry because they are the underdogs.
They are the mud-rain-frost-and-wind boys. They have no comforts, and they even learn to live without the necessities. And in the end they are the guys that wars can't be won without.
The American soldier is quick in adapting himself to a new mode of living.
Outfits which have been here only three days have dug vast networks of ditches three feet deep in the bare brown earth. They have rigged up a light here and there with a storage battery.
Our artillery has really been sensational.
For once we have enough of something and at the right time. Officers tell me they actually have more guns than they know what to do with.
The closest fires were near enough for us to hear the crackling flames and the yells of firemen. Little fires grew into big ones even as we watched. Big ones died down under the firemen's valor only to break out again later.
War makes strange giant creatures out of us little routine men who inhabit the earth.
I've been immersed in it too long. My spirit is wobbly and my mind is confused. The hurt has become too great.
Below us the Thames grew lighter, and all around below were the shadows - the dark shadows of buildings and bridges that formed the base of this dreadful masterpiece.
For me war has become a flat, black depression without highlights, a revulsion of the mind and an exhaustion of the spirit.
About every two minutes a new wave of planes would be over.
The motors seemed to grind rather than roar, and to have an angry pulsation like a bee buzzing in blind fury.
Our artillery... The Germans feared it almost more than anything we had.
I've really been sick with this cold, but I think I might have kept the columns going anyhow except I was just so low in spirit, I didn't have the will to struggle against them when my deadline was so close and I felt so lousy.
For a lifetime I had bathed with becoming regularity, and thought the world would come to an end unless I changed my socks every day. But in Africa I sometimes went without a bath for two months, and I went two weeks at a time without even changing my socks. Oddly enough, it didn't seem to make much difference.
Somebody said that carrier pilots were the best in the world, and they must be or there wouldn't be any of them left alive.
It was a night when London was ringed and stabbed with fire.
All the rest of us - you and me and even the thousands of soldiers behind the lines in Africa - we want terribly yet only academically for the war to get over.
[I]nstead of the usual "Why can't we make movies more like real life?" I think a more pertinent question is "Why can't real life be more like the movies?"
Some day I'd like to cover a war in a country as ugly as war itself.
I try not to take any foolish chances, but there's just no way to play it completely safe and still do your job.
If you go long enough without a bath, even the fleas will leave you alone.
There is no sense in the struggle, but there is no choice but to struggle.
Swinging first and swinging to kill is all that matters now.
Thoughts are wonderful things, that they can bring two people, so far apart, into harmony and understanding for even a little while.
Say what you will, nothing can make a complete soldier except battle experience.
Marines have a cynical approach to war.
They believe in three things; liberty, payday and that when two Marines are together in a fight, one is being wasted. Being a minority group militarily, they are proud and sensitive in their dealings with other military organizations. A Marine's concept of a perfect battle is to have other Marines on the right and left flanks, Marine aircraft overhead and Marine artillery and naval gunfire backing them up.
The front-line soldier wants it to be got over by the physical process of his destroying enough Germans to end it. He is truly at war. The rest of us, no matter how hard we work, are not.
If I can just see the European war out I think I might feel justified in quitting the war.
But to the fighting soldier that phase of the war is behind.
It was left behind after his first battle. His blood is up. He is fighting for his life, and killing now for him is as much a profession as writing is for me.
In their eyes as they pass is not hatred, not excitement, not despair, not the tonic of their victory - there is just the simple expression of being here as though they had been here doing this forever, and nothing else.
One of the parodoxes of war is that those in the rear want to get up into the fight, while those in the lines want to get out.
I was away from the front lines for a while this spring, living with other troops, and considerable fighting took place while I was gone. When I got ready to return to my old friends at the front I wondered if I would sense any change in them.