Military love letters connect couples over long distances — whether by email or text or Pinterest or cards in the snail mail. During World War II, Myra Strachner exchanged nearly 700 letters with her boyfriend, Private Bernie Staller.
But two months before the end of the war, Bernie went missing in action. Myra continued to write to him faithfully. Her final letter to Bernie is filled with almost unspeakable tenderness and grief and inspired us to make this short film as a tribute to all those with loved ones serving in the military.
Here is the text of Myra’s letter:
Darling — I was at your house tonight. They showed me some pictures of you …
That hair is cropped close, but still it curled around my finger as if it were grasping it.
I’ve kissed those lips.
Those legs were pressed against mine.
I’ve held those wrists with my fingers.
My hands have been in those hands.
My fingers have touched those sides and both touched lightly and dug into those shoulders.
My lips have kissed that throat.
And I knew you had to be alive, because you’re so alive!
Myra’s letter continues on, imploring Bernie to visit her in her dreams that night, and to certify that he was still alive. Unfortunately, she was notified the next day that he had been killed in German artillery fire. Her letter was returned, unopened.
I first read Myra’s letter ten years ago when I was a freshmen in college. I was just getting ready to leave on a two-year service mission for my church, where I wouldn’t be able to communicate with my girlfriend except through the postal service — So Myra’s letter found a special place in my heart.
Both my father and grandfather had also served in the military, leaving their wives behind during deployments. I wanted so desperately to keep honor the letter and all of those with loved ones serving in the military.
For years after my mission, I searched for the letter, but never recalled enough detail to locate it. Finally, a month ago, I found it, and some friends and I reenacted it to the best of our abilities.
Words have a power of connecting us over long distances. While Myra’s letter was returned, unopened, we hope our modest tribute will remind others to reach out to their loved ones often, and to cherish the time they have together.
Jacob Stark is from a multi-generational military family, with both his father and grandfather having careers in the Army. Jacob recently graduated with his MBA from Duke University, and will be working and residing in Palo Alto, Calif.