1967-1968: Letters from Vietnam
Fifty years ago, my brother was killed in Vietnam. These are his amazing letters to his wife of three weeks, stretching into 8 months, and then stopping short: “Your Roy, dirty hands and all.”
They are a mixture of hope, tenderness, friendship, beauty, childlikeness, love; at the same time, they speak of unfairness, dismay, and then anger about all the things that have troubled generations about war in general and that war in particular: the sorrow and loss, the waste, the quarreling, the betrayed sense of purpose.
They are also about prayer and about the power and the difficulties of prayer and the challenge and value of acceptance of God’s will. Indeed, they reveal a soldier with a great soul.
Preparing them for publication sometimes made me so sad, I could not stop weeping. Other times, I was so angry, I had to stop and pray for acceptance all over again. But in the end, his words just needed to be shared.
Yes, we would like no war. But meantime, war is here, and we need our soldiers to know that they are not abandoned by God, but are loved by Him and called to holiness, just like everyone else. This book is the best way I can think of to say that.
Besides the letters, you will find a short bio and some photos of Roy, of Vietnam, and of the people and countryside around him. His wife shares a brief reflection on the kind of person he was. His sister offers a few pages on the war itself, not wanting the history lesson to overtake a very personal document, but knowing that for the rising generation, this war is already distant history: what was it about? Why was it so divisive?
This volume is not presently being offered through other distributors; it is a small printing, in color and on acid-free paper. There are about 50 letters, all different lengths, a few poems, some pictures.