Why I wrote The American Soldier
I started reading stories about veterans who were coming back from the Middle East when we were heavily involved of there, and I was reading how they were struggling either financially, dealing with PTSD and obviously suicide, which just started to tick up back then. To So I wrote The American Soldier because I wanted to do something about it, I wanted to give audiences a true awareness of what our veterans go through. What our veterans commitment and sacrifice really is.
I wanted to also say thank you to our veterans families, because a lot of times we forget, we say thank you to our veterans but we forget to say thank you to their families. Their families are the ones who actually pay the bigger price in many ways. It was my way as an artist to say thank you to them.
I've been asked many times what make the play so authentic and accurate, why are veterans not dismissing of it. Well its because my consultants to the play have been the actual words of our veterans, and the veterans themselves. And that is what makes this piece of theatre so moving to our veterans and their families when they see it.
I've been touring the country with the play for over five years, and it has been seen by Purple Hearts recipients, Gold and Blue Star families and veterans who have experienced heavy combat, and they've all given me the pat on the shoulder that I was doing the right thing and saying the right words. The play has been performed in over 16 cities, 10 states, and for over 8,000 audiences and veterans.
We owe so much to our Veterans and their families
I always have a Q & A, formally or informally after the show, and so the emotions afterwards are always high, and there's always a veterans who says,
"Hey, tuck your shoe laces into your combat boots." Or, "When you hold a 50 caliber machine gun, hold it like this."
So they've kind of fine tuned the show and last year I performed for the American Legion National Headquarters up in Indianapolis and many could not believe that I wasn't a veteran.
In the five years I have been doing the play, the reception I've received from the veterans and the veteran community has been amazing to say the least. It has been an HONOR.
I've been blessed to perform at the Kennedy Center, the Library of Congress, Federal Reserve Bank and the American Legion National Headquarters and many veterans have written me letters and have asked me to please keep going, please don't stop. I believe many veterans are not feeling heard, they feel like their voices are not being listened.
I've been blessed to this piece of theater as a mouth piece for them, to tell their stories, and honor them and their families.
Thank you to every veteran, and families for what they have given for all of us.