An American Soldier’s Journey Home – Honoring a World War I Veteran

“I stand with bated breath waiting for the explosion of the shell. I imagine the toll of injury and death it takes. The cost of it. The futility of it. The war will never be won on the field of battle. Why not end it all and spare men and women.” 

 – Irving Greenwald

Douglas Taurel, actor and creator of the acclaimed solo show The American Soldier, will perform his new play An American Soldier’s Journey Home at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. on November 11. Taurel will then perform The American Soldier in the same theater at 2 p.m.

Irving Greenwald’s Diary

An American Soldier’s Journey Home is based on the life of Irving Greenwald, a soldier from WWI who was part of the Lost Battalion and whose diary is preserved by the Library’s Veterans History Project and is now on display in the exhibition Echoes of the Great War: American Experiences of WWI at the Library of Congress.  

Congress created the Veterans History Project in 2000 to collect, preserve and make accessible the first hand remembrances of America’s war veterans from World War I through the more recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. After learning about Taurel’s critically-acclaimed show, The American Soldier, Library staff commissioned Taurel to create an original presentation based on its collections. Taurel took 465 days of Greenwald’s diary entries and condensed them into a moving and thought-provoking 45-minute play.

“As I worked on the WWI project, I decided to focus only on Irving Greenwald’s diary because of all of his details of the war, and of the deep love he had for his wife,” Taurel explained. “It brought me to tears at times.”

Irving Greenwald’s younger daughter, now 96 years-old, will attend the performance. “Needless to say, it will be a very special meeting and performance for her,” Taurel said.

The American Soldier, nominated for the Amnesty International Award for theatre excellence, has been touring across the country for the past two years. The play is based on real events and actual letters written by veterans and their family members from the American Revolution all the way through current day Afghanistan. It honors the experiences of veterans and their families, and explores the internal struggles they face when returning home from combat. (Read Erica Moffett’s review of the play and her interview with Taurel.)

An American Soldier’s Journey Home
11 a.m.
The American Soldier
2 p.m.
The performances will be held in the Library’s Coolidge Auditorium, Ground Floor, Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street SE, Washington, D.C.