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Month: May 1997

O Canada

The Birth Of Basketball

On a brilliant Indian summer day in 1995, a slim, nattily-dressed black man from the United States headed out into a stiff wind to make his way across a rolling field outside Almonte, Ont. John B. McLendon Jr., then 80 years of age, did not even notice the wind as it tried to push him back toward the vehicle that had carried him from the airport to this spot in the Ottawa Valley. He had, after all, just travelled 1,700 kilometres to keep a promise he had made to himself 56 years earlier and never expected to break. McLendon’s own name, he liked to say, rhymed with "de-pend on," just as the name of the man he had come to Canada to honor, James Naismith, always went with "basketball." McLendon had come here to see the rock that had inspired the game that had...

Portraits Of A Farewell

"Flying through a monsoon is something you only want to do once in a lifetime. Honest, Don, they are grim. If it was just the rain it wouldn’t be too bad, but those damn clouds have so many winds and air currents going in about 80 different ways that it is only by the grace of God that the wings stay on." Warrant Officer William Rogers was 22 when he wrote those words in a letter to his younger brother, Don. Seventeen days after writing the letter–on June 21, 1945–Rogers and five other Canadian airmen died when the military transport plane they were on crashed in the Burmese jungle, probably because of severe monsoon weather (Recovery In The Jungle, March/April). Almost 52 years later–on March 5, 1997–the remains of the six airmen were buried together in a teak casket in the Taukkyan...
O Canada

Bridging Confederation

It has torn at the psyche of Islanders for more than a decade. On the one side there have been those afraid of environmental risk who also fear a loss of the Island way of life. On the other, those looking for convenience, cheaper transportation and the potential benefits that both will bring. Now, as the mammoth Confederation Bridge–the so-called fixed link that connects Prince Edward Island to mainland Canada–gears up to open June 1, debate has been replaced by rising excitement, although apprehension and uncertainty remain. At 12.9 kilometres, it’s one of the longest continuous multispan bridges in the world. Multispan means it’s a repetition of the same structure over and over, from shore to shore. It’s been a feat, if not of technology, of sheer size. It has been an immense ...

Examining A General’s Dismissal: Army, Part 16

The news of General Andrew McNaughton’s retirement was announced on Dec. 26, 1943. McNaughton’s brief statement offered no explanation for the decision and the men and women of what was sometimes called "Andy’s army" were surprised and confused. The following week, as McNaughton and his wife left 1st Canadian Army headquarters to return to Canada, thousands turned out to wave and cheer in a show of affection that no other general or politician could inspire.McNaughton, who had presided over the creation of the overseas army, had not resigned voluntarily. The official explanation of retirement due to illness made little sense to Canadian reporters who met an obviously healthy McNaughton. And so, the Ottawa rumor mill went into high gear. The story of McNaughton’s dismissal tells us a gre...

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