A player’s enjoyment of GAA games at adult level is shaped very much by the person(s) who manage or coach the team.  In general, if you like the content and the way it is presented, you are going to enjoy it more, be proactive, perform better and stay longer.  So, what is a typically good productive session?  Obviously, there will be exceptions, but this is looking at what a “good productive session” should be like in my opinion.  Let’s start putting together the Team Jigsaw. First of all, it is important to understand the difference between a Manager and a Coach and subsequently understand the logic if any of that being one and the same person.

MANAGER: Composes team strategies, sets out a team tactics, picks the team and subs, is in charge of disciplinary matters and putting “restrictions” on their players and is the link to all points of administration. The buck stops with the Manager.

COACH: The coach puts those strategies into action and provides specific skills such as hurling/football/camogie nous and skills development, speed, core strength, general fitness and mental development.  It is rare to have proficiency in all these attributes

In my humble opinion, one manager and multiple coaches are required in a top-class team management setup.  The term Selector is antiquated.  Having someone on board whose only skill is purely having an opinion on who plays where is about as useful as a sieve without holes.  Every “hurler on the ditch” has that type of opinion. Everyone involved in a management team must offer something that is beneficial to the team and team goals. Like in any career path, the coach often moves on to be a manager and have the ability to coach certain areas, but they must remember their primary role is manager at that stage. Paying Managers at Club level, in this day and age where there is so much knowledge and coaching development in every locality (or should be) is madness.  Also, adult players have the right to be treated as adults, not juveniles.

GAMES BASED TRAINING is the key to modern group sessions. About 75% of the majority of sessions should be devoted to playing the game you are training for.  This means matches, conditional matches, or practical tactical development.  Could you imagine a swimmer training for the Olympics and barely swimming?  Spending most of their time in a gym or running around the pool to increase fitness. They’d probably drown.  Metaphorically that’s what happens a lot of GAA teams, often only saved because the opposition did the same type of preparation. Or a boxer just hitting a punch bag or even shadow boxing and never actually sparring? He or she would be out cold in seconds against a real fighter. Focus on the sport you intend playing.  Most club teams only train twice a week for a period of less than 90 minutes each. That’s when they are together and can work together, playing the game. Playing the game is the main reason for playing the sport.  If the player enjoys group activity, he or she will enjoy the game.

FITNESS is something a player can do on their own outside the group. If they only do the two 90-minute sessions a week, they will never be fit enough anyway.  So, educating the player to understand the responsibility of fitness is in their own hands is important.  In any case trying to get a club squad fit using the same template for everyone is impossible, foolish even. Does a goalkeeper need the same fitness traits as a corner forward, or a full back the same as a midfielder?  Can a fitness training session have the same effect for someone who is an office worker versus a retail shop worker, versus a teacher, versus a farmer versus a builder versus a nurse.   What each do during their working day is considerably different and preparation for a physical training session later that day will have different effects and benefits. The aim should be to get the best out of each individual and that will not be the same for everyone.

The key thing is to provide programs for the players. However, make sure at club level there are choices. Some may love the gym. Others might hate it. Some might be based in an apartment and the scope for exercise might be limited, so important to have non or minimum equipment programs as well.  At the end of the day it should not matter which program they do as long as they take the responsibility. The final element is Measurement. You must adopt a fitness test, generally a circuit based one and once a month, record the results, having set a standard at the beginning of the year.  You can introduce a level of competitiveness into it and challenge players to do better than their friend. However, you need to be careful, that it doesn’t dishearten anyone. Get the players to understand that when it comes to fitness, the main opponent is themselves and that’s the person they need to beat and better at each measurement session. That is when GAA becomes an individual sport.

It is always worth considering, female fitness coaches for girls’ teams as they understand the female physiology a lot better than the male counterparts.  In addition, nutrition is a subset of fitness that is fully within the players’ control.  Similar for injury management.

SKILLS and drills are what most club coaches are into. Skills are very important but how important are drills? Adult players have been practising skills since they were very young and should always. The vast majority of skills can be practiced on your own.  The exceptions being tackling, blocking and hooking in hurling and Camogie. Skills are again the players responsibility. The coach cannot hold the hurl for you or kick the ball for you. So, coming to a field with your teammates and spending an enormous percentage of the session doing skills drills, most of which are just the same as circus acts is just an inefficient use of group time.  Under-12’s are good at handpassing a ball or striking the ball and running to the other side, when under no physical pressure. It’s trying to do it in a pressured situation with hurls and hands or even elbows flying around you is the challenge.  That’s why group sessions are about putting those skills you have practiced into action in a practical games-based situation.

It is worth noting that hooking is a skill which is difficult to provide a drill for and it is difficult to do on you own. Yet it was that skill that the legendary JJ Delaney is most remembered for when he hooked Seamie Callanan in an All-Ireland Final. That skill ability could only have been perfected in a match situation, not running across a field trying to tip your partners awkward swing at an imaginary ball.  Yes, he may have started off like that but perfection did not come by just doing that circus act drill.

Like fitness, Measurement is very important and there should be a monthly skills test where again the most important opponent is the player themselves. The test should include at least a half dozen of the basic skills. This is where skills coaches come in, identify areas for improvement and set targets for the individual to improve, assisting where necessary. Always be available to the player.

MENTAL preparation and development is the final phase and becoming more and more important as teams level up on fitness and skills.  This is a huge area and too vast for this article, but this is where the inches are gained in the modern game.  This is an area that Brian Cody excels in without any real formal training. It also covers explaining what you require from your players as a team, so that they all understand they are singing off the same hymn sheet. This is better done in a classroom or workshop session, sometimes replacing your practical session. Often nice to do when the forecast is dire and you don’t want to torture your players (beware of making them too soft). Whether you call it a Classroom session, workshop or whatever, never call it a meeting. Players hate “Player Meetings”.  Most of them switch off before they get there regardless of what the content is.  They come to play the game but remember they have to learn the game too and the style of play the team requires.  All apprentices do “Classroom” or theory sessions. The craft of hurling, football or Camogie is no different.

TEAM SELECTION is like putting a jigsaw together.  GAA is all about opinion, that’s what makes it so entertaining and allows everyone to be an “expert” but a successful management team will use facts above opinion. Following the guidelines above, each individual player could be considered a piece of the jigsaw.  Each is unique with their own qualities. Each one shaped to perfection and the picture is only complete when every piece is in the right place.  In other words, every piece is important.  The end result can be a beautiful picture and the source of much pride and satisfaction.

If you liked what you read


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I am delighted to announce the completion and publication on this website of my third history/factual book, FIRST DECADE – PILTOWN LADIES GAELIC FOOTBALL. It is about the first decade of Piltown Ladies Gaelic Football Club (Established 2010) recording the club history in words, pictures and with a lot of interesting statistics.  It has been a labour of love and passion assembled during the COVID-19 lockdown but compiled over a period of ten years when I was and still am the club PRO.

Feel free to read, download, share. It is available online at the following link to read or download [Click Link]; FIRST DECADE – PILTOWN LADIES GAELIC FOOTBALL

If you enjoy it, there is no obligation but if you could possibly make a donation of any amount to Piltown Ladies Gaelic Football Club. Whatever you think, it would be much appreciated buy those in the club. The club will need funds when the games return to get back up and running with several fundraising options now gone and a lot of competition from other local organisations for limited funds.  You can donate through PayPal (Details Below). ALL proceeds will go directly to the club and will be used to fund the club for the foreseeable future.  Thanks in advance for your generosity.

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  1. Click Send & Request at the top of the page.
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Deletion – Definition; The removal or obliteration of written or printed matter, especially by drawing a line through it; The removal of data from a computer’s memory; The removal of a product, especially a recording, from the catalogue of those available for purchase.  What about the removal of mankind?

I have just published my latest short story. It is called DELETION. It is FICTION.  But could it be true?  Read it and find out! (Click Button below)

Are you getting comfortable with the current situation due to the COVID-19 virus?  Should it be a bigger concern, if people are?  Have you thought through the practicalities of living your own life if no vaccine, cure or treatment is found?  Is it possible?  Deletion on the face of it is a morbid look of what could happen, but the important message it tries to give it, stay hopeful, stay positive and never give up!

It is a bit like my writing career. I’m always hopeful that people will read my library, even though it doesn’t seem to happen. I’m hopeful, drama groups will want to produce and perform my plays. I’m hopeful, publishers will want to publish my novels or stories. I’m hopeful filmmakers will want to turn my stories into films. So, I never give up.  I still write even if I am the only one that reads it.  I believe in the stories.  I’m not worried about the fancy well-constructed sentences. To me, it’s all about the stories.

Meanwhile, on the technical front, I have updated the website to improve navigation. Around the LIBRARY Please feel free to check it out and use the CONTACT FORM to let me know what you think.



TIME… There is only so much of it OR there is so much of it …

When you are involved in clubs, organisations or teams you are always looking to get people involved, volunteers, spread the workload so to speak. Many people use the excuse “I wouldn’t have the time” to avoid taking on a job or a role. If there is one thing COVID-19 has taught us, it is that there is plenty of time and people should more than appreciate filling that time in the future.

It is really down to understanding, time and what you do with your available time. When you put your time down on paper you will really wonder what you do with your time. The numbers are important. Time is precious, there is plenty of it but use it wisely and productively in work, rest and play. 

Have a look at my little video show from a coaching workshop I’m designing which shows players or anyone for that matter how much time they can actually put into practicing per week or into their hobbies in general while still doing the necessities and having a good time. 

Please feel free to comment your thoughts if you think I have left anything out or if times are unfair.

Best watched in full screen with sound



Due to COVID-19 restrictions, it looks like I have more time to write.  I hear the groans as I type. Cases have increased, deaths have increased, critical patients have increased, restrictions have increased and guess what? Unlike a huge number of other people who use social media, I am still NOT an expert virologist or anything like it. Sorry.

This world crisis has highlighted two things for me. One, there are a lot of good people out there, caring, thoughtful and helpful.  Two, there are a lot of stupid people as well, easily identified by their poor spelling and grammar on social media which highlights a severe failure of their education whilst they try to proclaim to be expert virologists, psychologists, statisticians, politicians, economists, therapists etc.  The list is endless but the facts are only important if they suit.  What a pity, your Inter Cert didn’t give you the career you deserved! What a pity!

However, even those good people can be careless with the words they use.  Lockdown! (I’m mentioning it once and that is it).   Over a period of a few weeks, this is the word that became synonymous with fear and terror and worst-case scenario. It was mainly used by the people in category two above who had no concept of the whole picture and how the world works, so the stigma attached to the word grew. However, people need hope, Yes, we have to do the right things and I believe as a nation we are doing pretty well. But do not kill hope for people.  My local radio station was almost in glee using the word to describe the latest restrictions on Friday night.  The word completely misses the complex nature of the world we live in.  Unfortunately, the word now casts a stigma over anyone who is outside, regardless of the reason. You can hear the pounding of the keyboard typing the “bad” word and asking, what are you doing out, you are going to kill everyone you come into contact with! If you are not a known health worker you are treated with distrust and contempt and as if you were an assassin. But it misses the bigger picture. 

The last few weeks, we have got used to the term, “Not all heroes wear capes”.  Our health workers have been immense in this war on the virus and it is a war!  A war in which every member of the human race is a soldier. A war in which they are the bravest of the brave. But not all our heroes are health workers either.  For example, it could be a farmer, food factory worker, delivery person or food retailer, keeping the supply chain going and providing us with nutrition. Important nutrition required for a war that has no set end date. Remember, during the great famine, about one million Irish people died.  At this point, COVID-19 is nothing compared to that! And the cure was simple, food!  It could be someone who works in a pharmaceutical factory making sure we still have medicines for the long haul. Remember COVID-19 did not cure or make heart disease, cancer or AIDS disappear.  It could be a mechanic, that fixes a doctor or nurses car so that they can get back to the battle and save lives.  It could be the maker who makes a bolt, that is required for the farmer to continue his operation which we have already established the importance of.  It could be any of the service engineers involved in our utilities. If we want to cocoon our older people. They need those utilities more than ever to communicate etc.  It’s isolation, not solitary confinement!

So, the next time you wonder about that young lad in the car and where’s he off too. Just think he might just be heading to work in a food factory, risking his health and the health of his family, so that you and me can eat and continue to do so.  I suppose I am biased as my son and daughter went to work in Dawn Meats this morning.  They are heroes too, just doing a job which may seem small but is huge in the bigger scheme of things. Meanwhile me and you, the best we can do is type words.  So, think before you type those words.  Stop judging. Do what you have been advised to do, yes.   And the next time there is an applause, the only people who should be applauding is you and me, the keyboard warriors. We are contributing very little to the war and I am thankful for all those people who are doing their best. It is not just about money. It is about survival in the longer term of our army, the human race and when this war is won, there will still be a world to improve and the keyboard warriors will have very little to contribute. 

During this time there is major responsibility on our journalists. I have started following Fergal Bowers on Twitter and to be fair, he is good at relating the facts and sticking to them.  Locally, Dermot Keyes, someone I have known with a number of years is doing a good job mixing information while adding tangents to keep the spirits up.  If Dermot reads this, I hope he introduced more quality control on his retweets. Although, I’d be delighted if he retweeted some of my reading material.  Yes, Seamus can be a hypocrite too, when it comes to getting his words out there!  Unfortunately, not all journalists are doing a good job.  At times like this the journalist needs to stop being a journalist and be a leader.   You have the power and the ability to use the language.  It is a weapon at the moment in this war, but the responsibility to use it wisely is paramount.  No army will win a war, if they are demoralised. History has proven that umpteen times.  Your prime function is not “the story” but rather the facts and the moral of all.

This morning, “The Indo”, once my first choice for written news, did the story that was the straw that broke the camels back. This camel.  I no longer trust or want to read their garbage.  The story was around an American university who had done studies to “suggest” that the 2 metres apart rule was nowhere near far enough away and it needed to be four times that. The word “suggest” was used several times in the article. Suggest and Alleged are words journalists use when they are not certain that what they write is fact.  So why in the name of God, would a journalist write an article that he or she is not sure about to frighten the be jaysus out of the troops worse than what they are. It is totally immoral and a case of a journalist and an editor putting the story before the feelings and deep emotions of the people.  and what in Gods’ name is any university with money trying to figure out the pole-vaulting distance of COVID-19 rather than using those funds to find a cure. Their funding should be stopped immediately and re-routed to places trying to find the cure.  The story is not important at this stage. Shame on those journalists and any like them.  Facts and the moral of the troops is the only things that matter.  Rant over!

I would like to finish this blog, by again saying that living in fear, is not living.  I do feel sorry for those who have no God of any kind.  A lot of them don’t trust our leaders who are human, so their minds must be very lonely when they are isolated.  Many of them try to use social media to become a God in their own world, decreeing and judging. It’s a sad world they inhabit.  At least if you have a God of some kind, he, she or it is there to turn to.  A mere mortal like I takes a lot of solace from believing and praying to a more powerful entity.  Hope must never die.

My recommended work for this blog is a short story I wrote some years ago called “Hope Lives”. I hope you enjoy it.


If you enjoyed Hope Lives, please read some of my other writing on the website or contact me using the contact form.


First and foremost. I am not an expert and everything that follows is just opinion, my opinion. This article is about promoting hope and beating fear.  Live and Not just die. The subject is the Coronavirus or COVID-19 which ever term you prefer. Like my last subject it is not a joyous subject, but like the last I cannot turn a blind eye to it.

In the run up to the recent general election in Ireland, the subject of climate change and the threat to our planet looked as if it would be foremost in the people’s mind.  However, the results based on the Green Party return, the main supporters of climate change policies, did not endorse that policy to any great extent. It did not bother me greatly as I do not subscribe to climate change being the greatest threat to mankind and question the control we have over a vast universe.  I do believe though, that man is the biggest threat to mankind.  The weapon of choice is most likely to be chemical or a virus.  Did man contribute to the existence of COVID-19?  The stories of the wet markets in Wuhan born out of the famines of the 1970’s certainly points the figure at man’s contribution to the existence of this virus which now sweeps through the world as I write. Is this the Armageddon virus? … I don’t think so, but it is certainly a wakeup call and then again as I said at the offset, I’m not an expert.  

The World Health Organisation (WHO) describes COVID-19 as a pandemic. Pandemic if a frightening word, but all it means is that it is a disease epidemic that has spread across a large region, for instance multiple continents, or worldwide.  No surprise.  Is it serious? Obviously, it is, no question, but is it recoverable from? Of course, it is. Let’s not forget that.  Fact, in Wuhan and Northern Italy, the recoveries far outweigh the deaths, though I accept that is little consolation to the deceased or their loved ones. However, I will return to this in a while.

To recover from anything, one needs hope. Unfortunately, hope is being slowly eroded by fear.  Fear that is driven by people both through social media and even sources that were once considered reputable media.  If hope is eroded completely, there is no future and fear will take over which leads to the inevitable of man turning on man.  We have seen it in so many apocalyptic films and books. Maybe for rations, maybe for medicine, maybe for food. Maybe because some nation sees another nation as a weak touch to take advantage of. I hope not for toilet paper though. It is called war.  Nations who disagree on approach may find like two children in the playground who disagree, a primitive resolution.  Fear causes stress. Stress is known to affect your immunity.  Immunity is the one and only weapon you have in your arsenal.  Your body will fight to the last, but you must choose to give it a fighting chance.  Too much stress reduces your firepower.

In coaching parlance, respect the opposition, but do not fear it.  You have only jurisdiction over what you can control. You can control the personal sanitising and hygiene as advised and everyone knows that advice at this stage.  It still doesn’t guarantee the opposition will not find a chink in your defence. We know that there is no cure at the moment other than the battle your body is prepared to put up against it.  Give your body every chance.  Exercise regularly and do not stress your mind. Prepare for the onslaught. You need all your energy to launch that counter attack. The blanket defence will not work. You have to fight back when you are put to the pin of your collar.

A couple of things do come to my mind.  Firstly, this is not the world’s first or only pandemic. AIDS/HIV was one which commenced in the eighties. It is still there but very much in the background of our thoughts.  In 2018, 1.1 million people died from AIDS related illness worldwide.  The WHO estimate that in 2016, that there were 1.35 million road related deaths in the world. Who is afraid to get into a car and drive?  Yet we only have control over our own car, not the many thousands of other cars that are on the road. We’ve all seen the lunatics and it is never us. But we haven’t left that fear stop from living or driving.  WHO also estimate that there are 320,00 drowning deaths per annum in the world. How many of us will not swim because of this statistic? 

In 2016, Cancer was the highest contributor to deaths in Ireland with 30.7% of 30,667 deaths. However, worldwide, the greatest cause of death, is heart related issues including stroke.  It contributed to 30.1% of deaths in Ireland in 2016 or 17.9 million worldwide that year!! I have experienced heart attack twice (November 2016, 10 days apart). I am a survivor. Do I have a fear of it?  Yes, there are times. If I feel odd at all, fear can immerse me for a time. I do have what I call “moments”, some may have noticed. When I hear of a young person or even people around my age, dying from heart related issues, it does give me the shivers. However, when that emotion starts to consume me, I fight it, remembering I have recovered twice. I take my medication regimentally. I exercise to the best of my ability, allowing for two artificial hips. My weakness is probably my diet.  It could be better. But one thing is for sure, mentally my body and mind is up for the battle, should it happen again.  Mentally, I need to be strong and ready for the battle. Believe me reading too much bad news is not useful for developing mental strength. Again, in coaching terms, I focus on my strengths which I can control rather that the uncontrollable strengths of the opposition.

The power of social media is frightening when used indiscriminately. Too many people, who like me are not experts are posting and sharing information that is adding to the fear.  Sharing an article that suits your own thought process is not wise unless you really know the person the wrote it originally. They could easily be a waffler like me! I’m not an expert. You are not an expert. How can you tell if an unknown on social media is an expert?

To that end, it is a fact that there are vastly more people who have contracted COVID-19 and recovered than have died.  Why not share these people’s stories? They have experienced it. Using my heart experiences, they are more expert than anyone who has never had it. They are the people who can give us hope.  Let’s listen to them.  This is not to understate, that people will die, like our Taoiseach Leo Varadkar stated and the HSE experts.  It is not to reduce the effort put into precautions. Hope is important. And maybe there are people who were in the high-risk category who contracted the virus and have recovered.  Imagine the hope their story would give. Unfortunately, at the moment, people are too interested in the negative numbers rather than the positive stories. Stop people. THINK before you post your badly constructed, poorly spelt reaction or over reaction or blame of someone.  Think will your comment give hope or further despair?

The mentioning of the Taoiseach brings me to a something, I was trying to steer clear of and that is politics. Fact, I have no allegiance to any political party.  I do like the best people to run the country. To be honest the best people are actually cross party.  However, it is worth giving praise where praise is due.  The Government and the HSE are doing a brilliant job in what is uncharted territory.  A situation that changes on a daily, maybe even an hourly basis.  When this is all over maybe people will recognise that the HSE is doing a huge amount of the right things.  I know from my own heart events in 2016, I had no private health insurance, but the care I got was absolutely brilliant and I really appreciate that from the doctors, nurses, paramedics, pharmacists, administrators, helicopter crew and aftercare staff at St Luke’s, Kilkenny, Waterford University Hospital and Cork University Hospital.  Some parties and politicians came to the last general election with policies that they knew would never have to be implemented. They were promising the world with untold money, knowing that in reality it would never be tested.  Many of those who wanted change fell for the propaganda. You will note now, how quiet they are and probably how relieved they are at not being in power at this time, because you cannot promise the solution for COVID-19, a cure.  The people will see through that much more quickly.

I would like to finish this blog, by reminding people, that living in fear, is not living.  Hurl clever, and stay mentally strong and positive. Work on your game everyday and keep the spirits in the team high and unified. Victory can be ours!  And if despair does get to much of a burden, use the technology to talk to someone.  Social must not die from the virus. If the technology doesn’t work there is always the option to talk to your God, who or whatever that maybe. It is at times like these, the value of Prayer to give hope will be seen. Because if you do end up in isolation, that God, will be the closest friend you will have.   I hope when this is all over, we (as in the world) will be more honest and caring to our fellow mankind.









Last week I visited Poland and specifically the City of Kraków. It is a typical and beautiful eastern European city and the people are very friendly. Normally, when I go somewhere, I want to write a story about the place and use it as a backdrop to my fiction.  The place normally adds substance and variety to my fiction.  Yes, there was the intriguing and fascinating Salt mines with its underground Church, shop, theatre and restaurants as well as the wonderful House of Illusions, the lovely food from the reasonably priced restaurants, the horse drawn carriages and the brilliant architecture. However, Kraków’s biggest tourist attraction has its own real stories, too brutal and painful for many to hear, but also too true. 

Myself, Sheila, Jennifer and Lisa took in a tour of the concentration or more appropriate extermination camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau. There were no souvenir T-Shirts, fridge magnets, calendars or pens for what is the area’s biggest tourist attraction.   There was plenty of stories already there, told in a very solemn manner by the knowledgeable tour guide. The train tracks to the death camps. The accommodation, far from human luxury, crowded and even inhumane for animals.  The stories of torture and separation from family.  The shootings and the hangings were not even the worst. The medical and genetic experiments.  The thoughts of the agony and the failure to catch those final breaths in the gas chambers. The stark reminders with the thousands of shoes, the combs and brushes and pots of all kinds, but must brutality for me, the prosthetic limbs and the tons of human hair. Mostly brown, but made even more harrowing with the random cuts of blonde interspersed. Normal everyday things representing a massive inhumane atrocity.

The thought of the untold cruelty to men and women alike brings huge emotion. Even more grotesque when you consider the horrors inflicted on the children, very young children. Then there is that horrible glee you feel as you see where the commandant of Auschwitz, Rudolf Höss was hung for his crimes, but there were so many more “humans” involved.  Over a million people were murdered in those extermination camps.  Mainly Jewish and Poles, but not all. There were many other races. How is justice ever achieved for those crimes against mankind?

Being one that always looks for the logic, my overriding thought was “How could It happen?” How could so many of the perpetrators let it happen? Surely as humans we should learn.  Surely it could never happen again. Then that evening I arrive back in the hotel. Turn on the television and watch Sky News.  The story of the refugee camps in Syria is prominent….


(Edmund Burke)

I do not have an inspiration for any play, novel, short story or poetry after Auschwitz and Birkenau. I do know that in all walks of life, he above saying is so true, yet so often we as people, both men and women often do NOTHING.  I urge you never to forget and learn for the future.

It might sound like I am not recommending Kraków for a visit. On the contrary. I think everyone should visit. It is not all gloom, and do most definitely include Auschwitz and Birkenau, if only for it to serve as a reminder of the cruelty of the human race and the importance battling evil.  Let us never forget those people and what happened, ever.