To be a catalyst for healing for veterans of all ages with 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, creative workshops, and residencies; to honor and support our veterans and to help our communities process the social and cultural effects of war with integrity, in an honest and responsible manner.
Lt. Herschel Ponder
We choose not to let money get in the way of our mission. We donate all services to veterans whenever and wherever possible including Veterans organizations of all kinds. In order to make My Father's War affordable for the most people, we ask you to consider making a tax-deductible donation of ANY size by going to:
You may also mail a check made out to "Fractured Atlas" and send it to
PO Box 68226, Nashville, TN 37206
Herschel Ponder, Carol Ponder’s father, wrote his World War II memoir in 1989, 44 years after his war. My Father’s War is told in Lt. Ponder’s own words, straight from his memoir. The writing style is funny, sincere, and cruelly straightforward: The story of a young man who enlists in the Army Air Corps after Pearl Harbor, leaving his beloved Appalachian Mountains to become a “professional exterminator,” flying P-47 Thunderbolts in Europe.
When he comes home, he must re-enter civilian life while struggling with PTSD, moral injuries, and other unseen wounds of war. He was profoundly healed by writing his memoir over four decades later, more comfortable with himself and others for the rest of his life. His inner torment had eased. Now his story helps others, from any war, find some peace within themselves. Robert Kiefer, Carol’s husband, takes the role of Herschel, his father-in-law, speaking word-for-word from Lt. Ponder’s memoir.
Carol provides songs and underscoring from the period and from the mountains. Along with narration including more verbatim passages from the memoir, as well as family stories, the music weaves a beautiful context for her father’s story. You’ll hear old favorites like “Don’t Sit under the Apple Tree” and “I’ll Be Seeing You” and traditional songs including: “When Johnny Comes Marching Home;” “The Minstrel Boy;” and even “Goober Peas.”
The luminous artistry of the performance has been praised by many, including:
A searing, unvarnished and very personal account of war… The words and music flow like honey from this presentation…. Evans Donnell, Review in ArtsNash
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 with horror, Lt. 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. Don’t miss it. Amy Stumpfl:Theater Review, Nashville Tennessean
Ponder Anew [My Father’s War] is an emotional and nostalgic work that will touch anyone who knows a veteran of any war, then or now. The Sarasota Florida audience loved it. Patricia Caswell: Co-Founder and Program Director, Hermitage Artist Retreat, Sarasota, FL
As I spoke with people after the performance, both young and old veterans talked about how much they could relate to the experiences of Herschel Ponder. Some said they forgot they were seeing an actor and thought they were listening to Herschel. Others spoke about the incredible beauty of the voice of Carol Ponder…. Pamela Mumby: Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Asheville, NC