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About that observant fella . . .

Alan and I atop a Sherman.
I often compliment my daughter on being observant (and she is!). In some ways, I'm trying to call her attention to something I wish I were better at. That is, being observant.

Alan has the gift Caroline does. Two interesting examples of it.

While trying to find dinner one night in Paris, Alan caught a sign written in French that said something-something about the times of Christ. Turns out, it was a pathway to an ancient Roman arena where gladiator matches might have once taken place.

I know. It looks like a park or courtyard. It really is a relic of the Roman era, though, right in a neighborhood in Paris.

On our final night of the trip came another moment. Alan came across a pair of stumbling stones, which we weren't aware existed in Belgium.

Stumbling stones are a form of remembrance for victims of the Holocaust. They are placed in locations where individuals have memory of those victims last being seen. These were relatively flat against the surface of the street. In other locations, they stick up enough to make one stumble over them.

An unusual entry to a street in Paris. 

There were some other humbling moments were we saw attempts at preserving memory of Jewish victims of the Nazi regime. Shortly after we saw the arena Alan found, we walked down a residential street in which signs indicated that some victims had been apprehended there in the 1940s.

The first placard you see above surprised me in how precise it was about the assistance Germans received from the puppet government. Occupation is a complicated thing. So too is the evil complex of actions the made up the Holocaust. Memorialization like you see above isn't often seen in the U.S. and I'm thankful for friends who help me notice these details while traveling abroad.


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