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Giving and Thanks

+Alan Shapiro expresses this so well.

I am thankful for what so many have done for me...
... and hope that I am giving back in equal measure, so others can do the same.
Here's my 2 part wish for you all today:
May whatever your version of "giving" involves (sharing your talent, your resources, and attention, or simply your listening to someone who needs to be heard) be easy and free-flowing. May it always come from a love-filled place.

And may you have a daily source of things to be "Thankful" for: that your first thought each day is one with at least one exciting challenge you are looking forward to, that your second thought involves a long list of loved ones who make you smile and that your last thought each night is one of accomplishment, appreciation, and excitement for whatever is next.

And an extra thought:
Here's hoping that where many see just an odd turkey,
that you see past that to something exceptionally unique, fascinating and beautiful.

Thanks to you all for sharing your time and friendship with me. Not a day goes by where I am not supremely grateful for you all.

#happythanksgiving #grateful

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Veterans / Armistice Day 2017

I've always had issues with the holiday celebrated on 11 Nov. In the US, it is Veterans Day. But many other parts of the world celebrate it as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day to commemorate the end of "The War to End All Wars".

Clearly that didn't quite work out, but I saw it as something that was still aspirational.

But it wasn't till yesterday that I felt I could reconcile the two commemorations. I was driving through backroads I had never been on before to avoid an accident. Driving past this memorial, I stopped to take some pictures.

First of all, I was struck that there was no WWI component to the memorial. But as I walked around, I found a dedication written on the back of one of the stones.

"May their memory live through peace."

That. That was the connection to me.

We honor our Veterans for their service to the creation and preservation of peace. That seems contradictory - isn't the military about war, not peace? But there are thousands of Veterans today who "fought" in the Cold War. The motto of the Strategic Air Command was "Peace is our Profession".

So today, we mark 99 years since the beginning of an all-to-brief peace in the world. And the people who fought for that peace.

May we all, in our own ways, fight for peace.

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Wishes for a thoughtful and redeeming Yom Kippur.

For various reasons, I've been pondering love, loss, failure, and forgiveness.

This is the theme song for that pondering.

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We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

For several decades now, it has been my tradition to wake early on July 4th, go to a suitable location, and read the Declaration of Independence out loud. I used to do it from my parents porch. I've done it on Air Force bases, on the lawn of a house once owned by a British Loyalist, and in our nation's capitol.

It has always bothered me.

There are parts that have made me uncomfortable - that Jefferson specifically singled out the "Indian Savages". That a lengthy paragraph condemning slavery was removed before adoption. That women aren't mentioned. How sections opposed to standing armies and in favor of easy immigration are ignored today.

But the above line always comes back to mind. That despite its flaws, and the flaws we may still hold today, the foundation of our country rests on these principles. We have rights that are not granted by government - but protected by it. A sense of equality.

These are aspirational - but they always were. The Congress that drafted this declaration would not see peace and recognition by England for over six years (and would be forced out of their meeting house twice in the process). A formal end to slavery would take almost 90. Formal policies against native Americans even longer. And the reality of treating everyone as truly equal continue to challenge us.

But the Declaration was a moment of bright light in a field of darkness, showing us the way forward. And every year, we light bonfires and fireworks again - to continue to light the way forward. To secure equality and rights for everyone. And to pledge "our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor" to do so.
Animated Photo

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Memorial Day

"Let us, then, at the time appointed, gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with choicest flowers of springtime; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us as sacred charges upon the Nation's gratitude,--the soldier's and sailor's widow and orphan."

By command of Major General John A Logan, May 1868

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I absolutely love this oatmeal. From the scent of the toasting oats to the flavor of everything combined.

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Before the Summit

I'm about to board a flight to meet with fellow GDEs, but wanted to quickly share that I spent yesterday at GDG Capital Region's DevFest. Spoke on two subjects and participated in a panel
- Brillo and Weave: A First Look
- Google Home: First Conversations
- Panel on Cloud Computing

I have my slides up at, but you won't get the effect of using Google Home to control the slide deck discussing how to get Google Home to control slide decks. (You follow that?)

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I ponder this poem sometimes. It was written mid-war and calls on the author's comrades to continue to take the fight to the foe.

It doesn't call for peace. But today we can read that thought in it.

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Armistice Day + 98

I will come to a time in my backwards trip when November eleventh [...] was a sacred day called Armistice Day. [...] all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the Voice of God.
-- Kurt Vonnegut - Breakfast of Champions

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Pulse of a Nation

I've been pondering what to say about the shootings last Sunday morning... and honestly, words fail me. They failed me as the fragmented story emerged... they continue to fail me as we learn more details of what happened... as we hear tales of horror and of love and of unity.

They fail me now... and all I can think of are lives of every generation lost for the noble act of loving another.
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