Michael Stephen Myers
Playwright / Screenwriter
At the tender age of just seventeen, Michael enlisted in the United States Army. He served two years as an enlisted man before being chosen to become an officer, receiving his commission in June of 1967. After Ranger leadership and patrol training, followed by Jungle Training with the Special Forces in Panama, he was sent to Vietnam as an Infantry Rifle Platoon Leader where he joined his new platoon during the heat of battle. He received a number of awards to include the Purple Heart for being wounded in action.
After the war he found refuge in acting and writing as an escape from his own demons and the fog of war. He is now an award-winning playwright having won First Place at a variety of play festivals, and has had his work featured in many locations in the U.S. as well as internationally. His very emotional play (Think Twice) about homelessness, was the second most read play on the internet and was produced by the Durban University Theater in Durban, South Africa.
Michael was once referred to as one of the lost veterans when he drifted into the mountains of Blue Lake, California, and lived alone in a trailer with his dogs. This is where he started the catharsis of writing, to expel all of the horrors he had experienced, and in his work are many of the truths he had to endure.
Michael was a part of the creative input and development of Vietnam War Stories, one of HBO's first successful mini-series.
He is also proud to say that he was invited to dance in the Circle of Warriors, and is a honorary member of both the Shoshone and Nez Perce Indian Tribes. He learned many things from his native brother warriors. The one thing that he cherishes most of all is learning to walk the Red Road in harmony with all living things.
In his latest work, A Soldier's Final Act, he also brings us closer to the alarming suicide rates of our Veterans. We are all familiar with the tragic statistics but very few of us actually know of one of these troubled souls.
A SOLDIER'S FINAL ACT
By: Michael Stephen Myers
In the past year 22 veterans a day ended their own lives. Suicide has also been the second highest reason for adolescent deaths.
Our story begins with a troubled veteran in a hotel room. He is seeking help from the VA and is distraught and at his end. He is carrying ghosts that will not let him be at peace. He ends up taking his own life.
We then find a family of three who are in the same room having difficulties of their own. The girl is 16 and goth. They are staying at the hotel due to their son who has been injured in a football accident.
The father has never approved of his young daughter’s lifestyle or choices while praising his son. The mother tends to side with the father which leads to arguments between the three of them.
The father, disgusted, eventually leaves the room. The mother soon follows but has taken a pill from her purse.
The daughter noticed the pills and is about to take her own life when the spirit of the veteran reappears. The girl is clairvoyant and senses a spirit close. The spirit sees her and what she is about to do. The dialogue between the two convinces the young girl that suicide is not the answer which leads to a reconciliation for the family.
In saving the young girl the veteran has redeemed himself and is transported into a bright light.
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It took me forever to even admit that I had a problem.
It was in the early to mid-eighties when a wonderful veteran outreach counselor stood me in front of a full-length mirror and asked me a couple of things.
Am I having trouble keeping focused?
Am I having trouble keeping a job?
Am I having trouble with relationships?
do you have trouble relating to society?
And then he said look in the mirror, what do you see?
I see me.
Well then, maybe you are the problem.
That was the day I first began healing.
Jack Jones was his name. A Marine that had been wounded in the war.
It was the beginning of the end of my ten-year post war drifting.
A drifting that carried me into the mountains of Blue Lake, California.
I lived there in a trailer along the old logging roads for a year.
Isolated from people, just me and my dogs.
But the ghosts were there.
They are always with me.
They just won’t let go.
The most honorable duty I ever received was to lead American soldiers into combat.
The second most honorable duty was my appointment as OIC of Funeral Detail at Fort Benning, Georgia, burying our fallen heroes.
Now it is my personal duty to lead our veterans back home, to themselves, to hold their heads high and never forget the pride.
A VISION AT THE END OF THE ROAD
Here I am at last. So many miles and so many battles. From the bloody fields of battle in a war to the battles I have had to fight in my own psyche. My emotions are overwhelming as I walk along the vast corn fields. I am crying and I begin running. I run for about a mile until I can see the final crossroads. I stop and stand on the corner for a minute listening to the crows and the wind as it gently breezes through the cornfields.
It is a sunny day as I walk slowly down the road. In the distance, I can see the old farmhouse materializing like a mirage growing in the desert. And then, my heart is overwhelmed as I see them. Two shirtless and dark tanned little blond-haired children playing in the yard.
It is my daughter, Kelly, and my first-born son, Michael. I can see their dark bodies and their blond hair shining brightly from the sun. "Is that them? Could that be my children? Look at how beautiful they are." I think to myself. They are laughing and playing and my heart is filled with joy as they run to me hollering;
"Daddy, it's Daddy!"
Unfortunately, the loves of my life, the children that were so much a part of me were lost in divorce. I once remember my young and beautiful wife swearing to me that she would make my children hate me. So the children that I loved so dearly, the children who kept me alive, are casualties of a war. A war that I fought and a war that continues to fight deep inside of me. I am not alone however because many father's lose their children to divorce. And I certainly do not blame her, or them. I was lost in some sort of a haze for many years. I guess in many ways a part of me will always be lost. A part of me died on bloody battlefields far away. But hopefully I will still be able to recognize that forgiving and final shore should I ever find it.
All of my children have been married twice so you would think they would understand that we are all just people trying to do the best we can do in this life. I am very proud of all they have accomplished. My daughter, Kelly, lives in Maryland and is a Christian singer on the rise. Mike, Jr., has his PHD and
was elected to the school board of his city in Texas. And my youngest son, Jon, has had a very distinguished career as a Marine Corps Officer. They all have beautiful families and I have numerous grandchildren that I have never even met. I hope someday they will find me before it is too late. But, like all good warriors, I have accepted my fate. I mean what else could happen? And like the old cliche' of many Vietnam veterans - what are they going to do, send me to Vietnam?
I used to always see this long highway of life spread out before me. And when I would look in the rear view mirror I would also see another long road that I had already traveled. And now, at 68, when I look back I still see this long road of life but, sadly, when I look forward I think I see an off-ramp coming into view.
My life is not in increments of goals or anything else anymore. It is much simpler and when asked where I hope to be in five years I always reply the same; five years?, I just hope to be breathing in five minutes.
Michael Stephen Myers
A Soldier's Final Act Production Costs
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Plays and Scripts
Badges of Honor - Play
A Healing of War - Play
Cam Ranh Bay - Play
Think Twice - Play
The Bungalow at the Beach - Play
A Father's Legacy - Play
The Health Club - Play
A Soldier's Final Act - Play
Mr. Black & Mr. White - Play
Billie & The One-Armed Bandit - Television Script
Song of Jenny - Scripted Mini-Series
Gutter - Movie Script
HBO Vietnam War Story - Series Creative Input
The Archaggelos - Short Story
Dream Ventures - Short Story
Memoirs of a Hitchhiker - Short Story