Japanese tourists were visiting its nuclear weapons exhibit. I was strumming a guitar to relax in its lobby as they left that room, somber, heads low. I began playing a Japanese love song, “Sukiyaki.” They burst into smiles and sang the lyrics as images of Hiroshima and Nagasaki gave way to those of love and joy. I’d found a place to heal and find peace.
I met Executive Director Kevin Kelly and was his volunteer manager and outreach coordinator for a year. I began writing songs about feelings, failings, hopes, my stories and shared stories.
What soldier who fights doesn’t wish it would end? And what advocate for peace doesn’t wish to avoid war? At the Peace Museum, a veteran musician found common cause with a vegan peacenik.
Kevin and I discuss war and peace, civil rights and human wrongs, love and anger, loyalty and betrayal. We can disagree, but not disagreeably... at least, not often. And whenever music starts, it’s easier to dance, clap, sing or he’ll scream, “More cowbell!”
On Saturday, Nov. 12, from 2 to 5 p.m. at the International Peace Museum, I will be among three vet-fronted bands for a “Thanks to Vets” concert.
Anyone with a veteran or military ID will be admitted free to the museum on Veterans Day and on Saturday. The concert will also be streamed on the International Peace Museum’s YouTube and Facebook pages. The concert will also be streamed on the International Peace Museum’s YouTube and Facebook pages.
Performers will include: Carolyn Sargent (USAF) and the Freedom Eagle Veterans Flute Circle; my Storied Blues Band featuring guitarist Jerry Greer (US Navy) finessing my original songs; and Gary Williams (US Navy) & The Westside Players.
We’re ready to serve again, this time to raise a joyous noise for Peace.
Dennis Geehan, Beavercreek, has written for newspapers for over 50 years. He volunteers teaching guitar and playing for patients at the Dayton VA Medical Center.