Thanks

Thanks ...

Today is Veterans Day in the United States, a national holiday. Unlike Memorial Day, which honors those who died fighting for the United States, Veterans Day is set aside to recognize all those who’ve served in the armed forces. It also commemorates the end of World War I. Many countries throughout the world celebrate this as Remembrance Day or Armistice Day.

This is one of those holidays that always leaves me with mixed feelings. While I respect and honor those who serve, I also remain troubled by all the stupid, ridiculous and unjust wars the United States (and many other countries as well) have fought over the centuries. Veterans perform an honorable task, but they’re not always well served by their governments and leaders. Hence the mixed message in the image above.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting the first serving of Stuffed, my tribute to another holiday, Thanksgiving. Before I do, I want to take a moment to thank my friend Steve from New Zealand for the encouragement, help and support he provided to me while I was writing the story.

That he could do anything at all to help is amazing since they don’t celebrate something like Thanksgiving in New Zealand. Dealing with the strange customs of people half a world away, I’m sure the whole thing must have been challenging for him. But he was a good trooper and took the task on and it’s a much better story because he did.

Steve’s not a big fan of semi-colons so I imagine he’ll be disappointed that I haven’t paid enough heed to his technical corrections, but his substantive comments were always to the point and excellent. Although I may not have succeeded, I’ve tried my best to incorporate them. That’s especially the case with Serving 3 where he made some critically important suggestions.

Keep in mind that Steve looked at an earlier version of the story so he’s definitely not responsible for any spelling, grammatical, or other errors you may find as you read the story. Like I said, however, it’s a much better story for his substantive comments, at least in my opinion. Just don’t blame him if you end up not liking it. I’m the only one to hold responsible for that should you be disappointed.

Steve is even more fanatical about rugby than I am about baseball, at least it seems that way to me, so I’m going to have to acknowledge that New Zealand is the home of the Rugby World Cup Champions in 1987, 2011, and, perhaps most importantly, 2015.

Go New Zealand! (And better luck next year to all of the rest of you who love the sport).

Here’s a link to the 2015 World Cup championship game that may work for some of you if you share his interest in rugby and want to watch the championship game. It may not work for everyone, especially if you live in the United States.

All I got when I clicked the link was the following message: This video contains content from Engage Sports Media Limited EMEA, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds. Way to build support for rugby in the United States, EMEA.

NOT!

Of course, as Steve points out, coming from someone in the United States, that’s like the pot calling the kettle black 😀

Here’s another link to an interview with Nigel Owens, one of the first (if not the first) rugby referees to come out as gay. His is a very interesting, powerful and moving story, especially for a sport as rugged and macho as rugby.

His message should resonate with anyone, especially young people who may be wondering how coming out will affect their lives and careers.

In any event, thanks again for all your help and support, Steve. It’s appreciated!

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