My Father's War

 My Father’s War
A Story of Conflict, Survival, and Grace
From the Memoir "Ponder Anew" Adapated and performed by
by Lt. Herschel Ponder, USAAC Carol Ponder and Robert Kiefer

My Father’s War is the story of an innocent young man who joins the Army Air Corps after
Pearl Harbor and becomes,
in his words, “a professional exterminator.” That young man
was my father. We adapted this performance from
his 1989 memoir, which he wrote in
his storytelling voice – droll, sincere, and cruelly straightforward.

After not talking
about his war for 44 years, my father found real healing from his war’s
invisible wounds by writing and sharing his
story. Through it, I have understood my
father more clearly as a human being. Every word that Robert speaks in his
role as
Lt. Ponder is straight from my father’s original manuscript, a primary historical
document from WWII.

To augment the sense of time and place, we’ve enriched the story with family favorite songs
from the period and
traditional songs from the Southern Appalachians of Western North Carolina,
our family home.

Our Mission
Through performances of the highest artistic quality, post-show discussions, creative
workshops, and residencies; to honor and serve our veterans and to help our communities
process the personal, social, and cultural effects of war with integrity,
in an honest and responsible manner.

My Father’s War is a catalyst for healing and understanding. It includes a discussion with the 
audience after every
performance. My father’s story not only brings history to life, it also
inspires participants to talk, then write about
their own experiences of life before, during,
and after military service.

We provide performances, discussion, workshops and residencies free to the Veterans
Administration and other
veterans organizations. Sometimes we create and present an original
piece written and performed by the participants – using
the whole spectrum of spoken word art,
as well as songwriting. There is movement toward healing for all.

We provide all services in public and private schools, from middle school through

colleges and universities, and adult education programs. We work with educators in
diverse programs to bring
history to life and to create excellent learning through the arts
and arts integration curricula.

In addition, we create programming for performing arts centers, Chautauquas and resorts,
community centers,
libraries, "house concerts," homeless shelters, senior living residential
groups -
and for anyone else you might imagine.
My Father's War is supported through the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, 
The Tennessee Arts Comission, Potts Marketing, and Board & Staff Consulting.    



Introductory Video



Praise for My Father's War

"My Father's War engages the heart and mind with humor, beauty, and a deep humanity. It is healing and cathartic for veterans and community members."  Pamela Mumby Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practioner


 "My Father's War has an integrity in which we can honor our veterans and find the healing from war that is too little offered in our culture."  Todd Donatelli Dean at The Cathedral of All Souls Episcopal Church, Asheville, NC

We donate services to veterans

Please help us to donate performances, workshops, and residencies to Veterans Administration facilities and other veterans organizations. Just go to the website below to make a tax-deductible contribution. 

We sincerely appreciate your support.