Though he may not be able to return to France, Matt is determined to include others in his family in his grandfather's legacy. "My father is coming down with me to France this Memorial Day," Matt confides.
When I arrived in Normandy after an hour long train ride from Paris, visits to the D-Day beaches and war memorials had been on my list of "to dos" but, if I'm honest, they weren't at the top of that list or even close to it.
As we approach Memorial Day, most Americans are conscious of honoring those who have served in the military, so nearly all of us could name the three largest branches -- the Army, the Air Force, and the Navy. Very few, however, would think to include the Merchant Marine.
Napoleon Bonaparte once famously observed "history is a set of lies agreed upon." For those who look for the truth, it is often far too easy to believe in fraudulent history and science when they tell us what we want to hear.
America's motives for intervening in Syria, as they were in World War II, might be a mix of humanitarian ideals and selfish agendas, but that does not mean that we should shy away from our responsibility to others or to ourselves.
Color is coming back to the now-independent free-market democracy. A bit of the Balkan Peninsula, it's only slightly larger than Maryland. But there's variety inside that space, including a mountain-studded interior and an unspoiled Adriatic coastline.
"Inactive" means not active; ""incapable" means not capable; "inseparable" means not separable; and on and on the examples go. It doesn't make sense that "inflammable" means flammable. But we need to keep in mind that it's not always easy to translate one language accurately into another.
We live in critical times. So has every other generation of American citizens. We cannot realize the promise of our American Revolution by restoring the past. We cannot become the "summer soldier and sunshine patriot" of Thomas Paine's The American Crisis.
Places like Lebanon, not Dubai, should serve as stepping stone to help us appreciate and experience some of what the Middle East has to offer. Putting the region's current military strife aside, what do Americans miss by traveling to Dubai instead of Lebanon?
We arrived on Friday afternoon, still in disbelief that we would be spending Shabbat in Shanghai, where my grandfather made his home after his family died in the Holocaust. I can only hope that our trip served as a tiny spiritual fixing to a wound that can never fully heal.