Sunday, May 29, 2011

"It's Lonely Here in Hell" love letters from Nam


In 2010 Michelle (Micki) Phillips (previously Micki Piper) approached me and asked if I would be interested in writing a story based on love letters from the Vietnam War era. While my writing at the time leaned toward romance novels and cub reporting my interest was piqued. When she informed me the letters she was referring to were letters written to her from her husband who died from small arms fire in the Vietnam War leaving her a young widow, my heart broke.
To be allowed the intimate glimpse into her life, the life she so briefly shared with her young husband, and to then share his letters with the world was without a doubt an honor I would not take lightly.
How better to honor, not only her husband’s memory, but the memory of all the servicemen that never made it home to hold their wives, their daughters, their sisters, their mothers.

April 4, 1967

Dearest Darling,

Today is a day that I can feel nothing else to talk about except our love.
Sweetheart, I know we were made for each other, just as the moon was made for the sky.
Without the moon to light the sky at night, there would nothing but dark, lonely emptiness. And just as you were meant for me and I for you, without your love to brighten my life, I too would be wandering about in a sea of darkness. I would never have the opportunity to see the light of love and true devotion if it were not for you my darling.
During the short time we have actually been man and wife to each other, I have felt so much of love and the wonderful feeling you get when it is shared equally.
Our lives now face the strange and new excitement of a new member to our lives. A small joy of having this wonderful miracle happen to us would be the ultimate possession of the love that binds forever our lives.
Darling do you realize the wonderful experience that we are about to encounter? Having a baby join in on the love we have for each other and the love and attention that we both can generate into caring for our child could only be gifted to those who deserve the happiness that only God himself can give.
To believe in the feeling of true love is the most time consuming and most rewarding to anyone such as we have experienced… How was that for a love letter? …Every once in awhile I get a very strong urge to write words of love to my one and only love.
I must close now because it is getting dark. I will write again soon.
My love is all for you.
I love you Mrs. Piper.
Till death do us part in about 100 years.
Your hubby.

Jim Piper wrote that letter in anticipation of his upcoming leave, where he was to meet his young wife Michelle (Micki) on the beautiful island of Hawaii. His letter was full of a young husband’s hopes and dreams for their future together, the family they would create, and the love that would last a lifetime.

That was Jim’s last love letter.

PFC James Dennis Piper was killed in action on April 11, 1967, in a country a world away, in a war we should never forget.

This is not only Jim’s story; it is the story of so many others that fought before him, after him, and beside him; the fathers, brothers, sons, and husbands whose lives were cut short but whose memories will live on forever in the hearts of the loved ones left behind.


  1. Wow! I can't wait to read more!!! What a beautiful way to honor PFC Piper's love for his wife and the ultimate sacrifice he made for his country. Thank you, Charity, for writing it, and thank you Micki for opening your heart to let your story be told.

  2. Charity, you are the perfect choice to put together this collection of letters for the world to see. Your heartfelt concern for our war veterans and the work you do for them on a daily basis speaks volumes toward your outreach and understanding of their stories.

    Posted for Kyran Enzi

  3. Each of us will have a connection in some way with this story...keep writing.