Pokemon Go Players Clash With Veterans in Minnesota Memorial Park

Veterans Memorial Park in Winona, Minnesota. Source: Google Maps
Veterans Memorial Park in Winona, Minnesota. Source: Google Maps

Pokemon Go has become a worldwide sensation in barely a month of existence. This has not been without its share of issues, as a video from Winona, Minnesota illustrates.

Veterans Memorial Park has become a hotbed of Pokemon activity with players congregating in the open space to collect Pokemon. This has not been welcomed by the city’s veterans, who preferred the days when the park was a peaceful place to reflect on the sacrifices of the members of our military.

YouTube user Brxdon uploaded a profanity-laced video of the two cultures clashing, sometimes physically. The video has been viewed over 65,000 times since it was uploaded on July 29th. The video made the front page of the r/videos subreddit of popular site Reddit.

In the video, a group of young players are confronted by two or three very angry veterans, who make it clear that they feel the young people’s casual behaviour in the park is disrespectful to the memory of the soldiers who are remembered there. Insults are traded, and both sides become more and more angry, with the argument becoming physical at points, until the police arrive.

Comments on the video were just as heated between those who feel the Pokemon players are disrespectful of the veterans and those who feel the veterans are out of line.

“This is disrespectful,” YouTube user Connor Guyman wrote. “They should be HAPPY that they are visiting the memorial, I have never considered visiting and I’m sure these kids haven’t either before the game. Seriously, we show reverence by being alive, not by treating a piece of land like a holy site,” redditor SC_Druggie wrote.

This is just the latest in a number of controversies caused by the game clashing with military history. War memorials and museums have given varied responses to Pokemon players arriving at their sites to “catch ’em all.” Some have expressed dismay and anger, while some have been more accepting. This video is certainly the most violent reaction we have seen yet, though, and it raises interesting moral questions about what is and is not acceptable when entertainment meets the history of war.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE