///My Father's War
My Father's War
A Story of War, Survival, and Grace
from the memoir titled Ponder Anew by
Lt. Herschel D. Ponder
Adapted and performed by
Herschel's daughter, Carol Ponder and her husband, Robert Kiefer
To be a catalyst for healing and reintegration for veterans of all ages within their families and communities; to raise awareness in all audiences of what we ask from those who serve.
Through performances of the highest quality, post-show discussions, and creative workshops, to honor and serve our veterans and to help our communities process the social and cultural effects of war with integrity, in an honest and responsible manner.
To see a short, introductory video.
Imagine that you are a veteran and you've held your story inside ever since you experienced the heroism, humor, and horror of war. It doesn't matter which war, from WWII to Iraq and Afghanistan. Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) and other unseen wounds of war affect veterans and their families in every generation and in all wars.
My Father's War is a catalyst for healing. Robert takes Lt. Ponder's words and Carol weaves a context for her father's story through narration and music - songs from the period and from her family's native Western North Carolina mountain home. A discussion with the audience follows every performance - and they are incredible.
Witnessing the live performance of my father's story inspires veterans of all ages
and their families to begin talking about their own war experiences.
When they begin to talk they can begin to heal.
It inspires the rest of the audience to honor, with words,
what it is we ask from those who serve.
What people say about My Father's War:
"Wow! What an awe-inspiring performance! My Father's War was one of the more memorable performances at the Alvin C. York VA Medical Center in recent years. The post-show discussions were equally as amazing...If you serve in a State Veterans Home, VA Medical Center, or you provide care for Veterans, My Father's War is a must see!"
Reinaldo Roman: Voluntary Service Specialist,
Tennessee Valley Healthcare System
"At the heart of all good theater is a great story. And My Father's War certainly fits that description - thanks to the considerable talents of esteemed artists (and husband-and-wife team) Robert Kiefer and Carol Ponder.... Balancing humor and horror, Ponder's matter-of-fact recollections are intensely personal. And yet the tone is familiar to anyone whose life has been touched by war.... My Father's War honors the great tradition of storytelling."
Theater Review, Nashville Tennessean
After the discussion, creative writing and performing workshops focus and deepen the healing and understanding for all audiences. Participants create short works of art (poems, memoir events, songs) in response to My Father's War that are also grounded in personal experience. With coaching in aspects of performance, they share their work. We are soon piloting a longer residency in a Middle Tennessee VA - and the participants will create a new performance from their own stories.
In clinical settings, we work with mental health professionals present. They are enthusiastic about the healing power of My Father's War - performances, discussions, and workshops.
We have have provided over 100 performances of My Father's War in eight states - all with discussions and many with workshops. With your help, we can partner with Veterans Administration facilities and other organizations who serve veterans, as well as schools, universities, arts centers, houses of worship, and non-traditional theatrical venues all over the country. Please help us bring the power of healing and understanding in Lt. Herschel Ponder's story to diverse audiences everywhere.
To make your secure, online, tax-deductible contribution
Thank you for your support!
My Father's War is also supported through Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. We thank them!