By Susan Shaer

My uncle sifted through cracked, black and white photos of soldiers. Uncle Rob was in a rehab hospital, slowly fading. The photos were his buddies from World War II. A shoe box that held these photos and medals was practically the only thing he brought with him to the hospital.

The nurse told me it was common for older patients to reach into their distant past for memories they cherished. It was curious to me because he had never talked about his days in the war, nor his friends from that era. Now, he could recall each one’s name, hometown, hair color, and laugh.

My Uncle and I rarely agreed on anything political, but we both enjoyed the banter and ribbed each other about our candidate choices. It was a familiar rift, not a hostile one. The year was 2001. 9-11 had not yet happened and George Bush was president. When Uncle Rob was not talking about his long-disappeared friends, he encouraged me to reconsider our new president.

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