Dave, my partner, and I specifically budget to travel each year, forgoing other items and experiences. We do this because we find travel an enriching experience. Our worldview changes each time we go somewhere new. We also develop into better people because while experiencing new cultures, we gain a greater empathy for others, and learn more about ourselves. A large part of our travel includes visiting museums. Unfortunately, museums seem to possess a bad reputation as only for a select group of people who like history, art, or reading. This cannot be further from the truth. History and art museums are a great way to spend time on a trip, especially if the travelers are willing to do more than take a picture of a view or exert themselves physically while on an activity. This case needs to be made because too often I hear negative comments when I suggest museums as a tourism option. Visiting museums are often the most memorable, if not the best, part of my trip.
One sunny afternoon, I enjoyed a walk off-base in Okinawa, Japan. As I strolled down a sidewalk I watched as U.S. school children, within the fences of the U.S. military base, shot at each other with their toy Uzis while playing a game of war. No doubt these children copied what they indirectly experienced on a daily basis, in their own military communities. These experiences include the viewing of propaganda created by Armed Forces Network which often details historical military missions on public TV, the sounds of aircraft flying overhead, gate-guards who stare down passengers while holding large automatic weapons, and parents who continuously deploy. Notably, this situation of playing war is not unique to military children alone. My observation that day was not a political statement of ‘play-acting war,’as many children around the world, regardless of their affiliation with a military, play war games with sticks, toy guns and weapons, and video games. But for me this one moment began to spark questions regarding what playing “peace” looks like? Continue reading “Book Review: Michael G. Long’s “Peaceful Neighbor: Discovering the Countercultural Mister Rogers””