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Echoes of Joe Welch: “Have you no sense of decency, sir?”

Tue, 04/02/2019 - 12:00 -- Phil Egan

It is one of the most famous questions in American.

In thee Red Scare days of the 1950s, Republican Senator Joe McCarthy’s frenzied imagination saw Communist sympathizers lurking in every aspect of American government and life.

His bold and wildly inaccurate accusations destroyed lives and careers. At a congressional hearing in 1954, attorney Joe Welch, listening to yet another attack on a young American, finally had heard enough.

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A Sarnia Valentine to Janis Moore

Mon, 02/04/2019 - 08:44 -- Phil Egan

She is truly one of those women with whom you are instantly enamoured.

I loved Janis Moore from the first day I met her – and Lord knows, I’m not alone.

I’m in the good company of thousands of citizens of Lambton County who’ve had occasion, over more than four decades, to visit the office of the Mayor of Sarnia. Their first welcome to that office was always delivered, with warmth, professional respect and a generous, friendly spirit by the woman that Sarnia has come to know as “Deputy Mayor” Janis.

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January...the perfect time to lay on a southern beach with a margarita

Fri, 01/04/2019 - 13:40 -- Phil Egan

When I was working on the front lines of the international travel industry in Toronto, January was the month I hated most.

It was the month during which holiday operators scraped by – selling vacations at, or just below, cost.

The Irish writer, Stewart Stafford, once wrote these lines explaining why.

“Dickensian poverty tends to occur after Christmas in January. For it is then, with pockets empty, dairy decimated and larder bare, that the general populace sinks into a collective pauper’s hibernation until Valentine’s Day.”

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The Search for the Girl with the Sea-Green Eyes

Mon, 12/03/2018 - 11:18 -- Phil Egan

It has been called the most famous photograph in the world. In her home country, the portrait is known as the Afghan Mona Lisa.

The haunted, piercing eyes that gaze at the camera display wariness and apprehension. She is young, but strikingly beautiful. Beneath the red shawl of her cloak, you can glimpse her coal-black hair.

Her image seizes your attention. It is a face that is not easily forgotten. Most of all, you are startled by those brilliant, lustrous green eyes.

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How McCrae’s Iconic Battle Poem Created the Flower of Remembrance

Tue, 11/06/2018 - 10:35 -- Phil Egan

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and  in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

The words are an echo of our childhoods – words taught to every Canadian elementary student.

We memorized the lines, but most of us were too young to grasp the power of the words, or to know the story of how John McCrae’s poem gave birth to the poppies that we still wear, in remembrance of the unimaginable carnage of that Great War, 100 years after it ended.

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The Pan Am experience a reminder of the lost golden age of flight

Fri, 09/28/2018 - 15:48 -- Phil Egan

Despite 40 years in the international travel industry, I was able to catch only the most fleeting glimpse of the fading “golden age” of aviation.

By the time mass travel to Mexico and the Caribbean had begun in the late 1960s, it was pretty much gone. But – while it endured – it was represented most illustriously by a legendary airline known to the world as “Pan Am” – Pan American World Airways.

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Constable Jack Lewis publicly recognized

Tue, 08/07/2018 - 08:36 -- Phil Egan

On Victoria Day weekend in 1936, a monstrous crime was committed in Sarnia – then a city of only 18,000 inhabitants.

The attempt by two bandits to rob the city’s lone liquor store that Saturday night resulted in the slaying of a 33-year-old police constable named George Edward John (Jack) Lewis. It was Sarnia’s first line-of-duty death of an on-duty police officer.

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It’s Time to stop calling the American President the Leader of the Free World

Fri, 06/29/2018 - 15:47 -- Phil Egan

It’s hard to imagine Donald Trump retaining one shred of anyone’s respect after the spectacle played out on television last month.

It actually made me cringe with shame for my many American friends.

It was five days that began with the man that has bragged of multiple sexual assaults interrupting a G7 conference on gender equality by tastelessly arriving late and disrupting the session.

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The Chaotic, Calamitous, Melodramatic Year that was 1968

Fri, 06/01/2018 - 08:04 -- Phil Egan

The exhausting tumult of Donald Trump’s first year in office reminds me of the year that I turned 21 – 50 years ago this month. For those old enough to remember 1968, it was a time just as colourful and full of memorable, and often tragic, events. It has been called “the year that changed history.”

The world, it was said, would never be the same.


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