During my first visit to the Vietnam Memorial Wall in 1989 on Veterans Day, it was so intense and inspiring that I decided to write and direct a theatrical play in the surrounding park about the influence of the Vietnam War on those of us who served there and those who remained at home. I contacted the National Park Service to find out what applications were necessary.
I planned to produce, direct, and write a play performed at the wall on Veterans Day 1990. I wrote the play and began searching for the performers. I met someone who became a friend who said she knew former Marine Ron Kovic. During the Vietnam War, he was paralyzed and struggled to understand his sacrifice and become an articulate anti-war activist.
The movie from 1989, Born On The Fourth Of July, directed by Oliver Stone and starring Tom Cruise, Willem Dafoe, and Kyra Sedgwick, depicted the true story of Ron Kovic.
My friend gave me Ron’s phone number, and I called, and he answered the phone. He was friendly and generous with his time. I described what I had in mind for the play and asked his thoughts and feelings about the project. He said that he believed that it was a good idea, and I could feel free to use his name in any supportive way.
I found many professional and amateur people interested in participating. I found a choreographer, musicians, and more.
Unfortunately, I was unable to arrange for the play logistically. Nonetheless, I met many wonderful people, including Ron Kovic, who believed in this theatrical performance and the value of embracing the warriors and people who continued life at home who all struggled with understanding the essence of war.