The opportunity to learn about an historical moment from the person who actually participated in the event is something we often don't get to appreciate.
That's what makes Thursday's presentation by Capt. Richard Phillips exciting.
Phillips is scheduled to speak at 7:30 p.m. in the Steubenville High School auditorium as part of the Herald-Star, Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce Speaker Series.
A career merchant mariner, Phillips was the captain of the Maersk Alabama when that vessel was captured by Somali pirates in April 2009.
He was taken hostage and held in a small lifeboat by the four pirates during his five-day ordeal, that involved the Navy, FBI negotiators and the SEALs, who finally brought the situation to an end after they determined Phillips was in imminent danger.
He shared his story in the book "A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs and Dangerous Days at Sea," which became the inspiration for the movie "Captain Phillips."
Thursday's appearance will be the third in the series, which began in November 2012 with a presentation by former Secret Service Agent Clint Hill, the agent who jumped onto the back of the limousine during the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and Lisa McCubbin. Tony Mendez, whose rescue of six American diplomats from Iran was documented in the book "Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History," as well as the film "Argo." was joined by his wife, Jonna, in Steubenville last April.
Sponsors for Thursday's event include Eastern Gateway Community College, the Franciscan University of Steubenville, the Health Plan of the Upper Ohio Valley, Trinity Health System and WTRF-TV. Special support is being provided by Bayberry House Bed and Breakfast, Piergallini Catering, Newbrough Photo, Hertz-Thrifty Car Rental and Steubenville City Schools.
Reserved seat tickets for the presentation, which cost $20 each, will be available at the door.
We welcome Phillips to town and thank everyone involved for ensuring the speaker series can bring quality programs to our community. Presentations like this help to improve the quality of life of everyone in our region.