Local News

Family Grateful After Escape From Lebanese Fighting

Posted August 16, 2006

— Richard and Samar Elawar run Richard's Restaurant in Elm City, but they grew up in Lebanon. They thought they were taking a normal family vacation to their homeland this summer. But just days after they arrived, the Israeli air strikes began.

"We thought it was going to be a good vacation, but it turned out the worst ever," said Richard Elwar.

"They were hitting civilians everywhere," said Samar Elawar.

The Elawars had their children with them. Daughter Hannah watched a bridge as it was blown up.

"And we look out the window and these gigantic clouds of smoke and dust are coming out," she said.

"The airport is gone," said Janna Elawar. "Everything is just gone."

Samar Elawar said the family spent much of their time inside, watching television news coverage. They worried how to get food and medicine. At times, they had no electricity.

"We can live without electricity for a while, but we can't live under the bombs," said Richard Elawar.

"They destroyed the country," said Samar Elawar. "That broke your heart."

They said that the pain of seeing destruction in their homeland has been helped by their customers at their second home, who they said prayed for them. They also said that the experience has taught them important lessons.

"Be grateful for what you have," said Hannah Elawar.

The Elawars usually visit Lebanon every other year. The house they have there is about 20 miles from Beirut.

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