Carol Ponder and Robert Kiefer

Ponder Anew: A WWII Warrior’s Story 

Our Mission
To act as a catalyst for healing and reintegration for veterans of all ages
in the context of their families and communities
 through performances, talkbacks, and workshops;
To honor their service;
To raise awareness in all audences about the seen and unseen wounds
endured by those who serve in our Armed Forces in any generation.

Go here for a five-minute video:

On July 4, 1989 Lieutenant Herschel Ponder wrote to his three daughters, "I had a sudden urge to tell you about my war, World War II - and the subsequent coping - my peace. After 45 years, some of the events are as vivid as ever...There is no fiction in what is to follow.  If my memory is in error, the margin is slight.  Dad..."

Lt. Ponder, Carol's father, was born in Asheville, North Carolina, in 1922.  At the age of 20, after Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and flew 51 missions in his beloved P-47 Thunderbolt in Europe. His memoir was written in his storytelling voice - droll, sincere, and cruelly straightforward. It is warm, funny, tragic, and poignant by turns.

Carol and Robert have crafted a performance from the memoir,
lacing it with songs from the period and
traditional songs from the family's Appalachian Mountains.

It is a beautiful production that evokes the essence of war and warriors: their victories, sacrifices, loyalty and love for each other, and the sweet pain of coming home. It was premiered as part of the The Hermitage Artist Retreat Series in the Historic Asolo Theater, Sarasota, Florida. The audience response from veterans, their families and friends, and other people from every walk of life has been tremendous. 

The talkbacks after the show, an integral part of the performance, are always rich with shared experience.

Hearing his words of war and peace, presented with his family's perspective always present, is a powerful catalyst that inspires others to acknowledge and open up about their own experiences.  Supported by members of the military, psychologists, clergy, educators, and a growing audience of new friends and fans, Carol and Robert hope to perform Ponder Anew - along with healing creative workshops for veterans, their families, and communities - as widely as possible.

To request booking information and to find out more about Ponder Anew, please go to the Contact page or email

To make a secure, online, tax-deductible contribution to support the mission of Ponder Anew, please go to: