Since 2005, the International Storytelling Center has worked with U.S. veterans in many different capacities. We believe in the healing power of storytelling, as well as the medium’s power to help veterans share their complicated feelings about difficult experiences. These are stories of service and sacrifice, of severe rifts and unexpected connections, of moments of fear and bravery and mercy and grace.
In the past, we’ve worked in partnership with the Library of Congress to produce a workshop and a theatrical piece. We’ve also mounted a special exhibit in partnership with the Smithsonian, sponsored drama therapy workshops, and offered a variety of special performances, including the internationally acclaimed director Armand Volkas.
This year, on November 12 (the day after Veterans Day), we’ll host a special Storytelling Live! encore concert, “My Father’s War,” with award-winning performers and musicians Carol Ponder and Robert Kiefer. (There will be a 2:00 matinee and a 7:30 evening show, both in our intimate theater in the Mary B. Martin Storytelling Hall.) Together, they’ll tell the true-life story of Ponder’s father, Lieutenant Herschel Ponder, who was a fighter pilot in World War II.
If you’re lucky enough to know a veteran, we hope you’ll consider submitting their story to our friends at the Library of Congress. Their Veterans History Project has collected nearly 100,000 stories since the program started in 2000, nearly half of which are about World War II. You can find their special kit for collecting stories and submitting materials here, and materials geared specially towards educators and students here.
If you can’t attend “My Father’s War,” or if you don’t have the opportunity to talk to a real-life veteran, you can still explore StoryCorps’ Military Voices Initiative, which has collected stories from some of the 2.4 million Americans who have served in Iraq an Afghanistan. You can listen to audio, or watch videos like “The Last Viewing” (below), which illustrates the healing power of stories in our lives.