The legacy of war: the interwoven stories of a young father's three hellish years as a POW in Korea and a daughter who grew up with the cruel lessons he brought home



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On this February night, my father is a bag of bones lying on his side under a thin hospital blanket. He is seventy-eight, and his kidneys are failing. His cheeks are sunken and his limbs spindly, like those of an awkward teen in a growth spurt. My fingers, long and thin like his, could encircle his leg. Without his glasses, he squints at the 2002 Olympic figure skaters on a television suspended awkwardly from the ceiling. He peers out at me—his small, nearsighted eyes the blue of robin eggs—from a long face whiskered in white, and he attempts the crooked grin I barely remember.
        “I liked that ballet, you know,” he says.

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About the Author

Journalist Catherine Madison was editor-in-chief of Utne Reader, senior editor at Adweek and Creativity Magazine, founding editor of American Advertising, and editor-in-chief of Format Magazine. She has written articles for many publications, including the Chicago Tribune, Star Tribune, and Minnesota Monthly.

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