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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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Cuba at a Crossroads as “Guerrilleros” Surrender Power

Tue, 05/01/2018 - 12:37 -- Phil Egan

For the first time in almost 60 years, Cuba is being led by a man whose name is not Castro.

The road ahead is shrouded in fog.

Ten years after Fidel Castro’s brother, Raul, took the reins of power from an ailing Fidel, the 86-year-old, the last of Cuba’s revolutionary leaders, has stepped down.

He leaves the country of 11.5 million people, a popular winter haven for Canadians for decades, with a troubled economy, a stalled entrepreneurial growth, and dashed hopes to the quick end of America’s cruel Kennedy-era economic embargo.

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Unprotected Homes - The “Dying of the Light” May be closer than you think

Tue, 04/03/2018 - 16:09 -- Phil Egan

On the cold winter night that my 24-year-old sister, Frances, last lay down to sleep, she never realized that she had spent her last day on earth.

In all likelihood, it won’t occur to you either.

That was back in 1985, when Sarnia had only three fire stations. Today we have five – and more, and better trained firefighters. So – you probably think that you’re safer from fire than Frances was, all those years ago.

But you’d be wrong.

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A Magical Night in Kilrush

Mon, 03/05/2018 - 09:01 -- Phil Egan

I will admit to some degree of cultural bias, but I think that the Irish may be the most hospitable people on earth.

Throughout 40 years in the Canadian travel industry, including dozens of both business and pleasure trips to Ireland, I have seen the evidence at first hand.

My very first trip to Ireland 42 years ago is a perfect illustration.

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