‘There is That Salute You Never Got.’

James Hair was home alone in his modest three-story house in Hollis, a section of Queens in New York City, when the phone rang. He got up to answer, moving a bit more gingerly than he once did. Age had stolen his agility and time had taken the spring from his step. Slowed by a triple bypass, Hair, just shy of his sixty-seventh birthday, was no longer the athlete of his youth nor the powerful man of his prime. He was a retired social worker, at the dusk of life, not quite certain what to do with himself now that he was no longer working.

Hair picked up the phone. His son was on the other end of the line, calling from work and speaking with some urgency.

Take a look at the newspaper, James Hair Jr. said.

Hair grabbed a copy of The New York Times and, as instructed, turned to page a18. “8 of First Black Navy officers hold reunion at sea,” the headline read. Hair looked from the headline to the photo. He recognized the face. It belonged to Syl White, a man he hadn’t seen in nearly forty years.

 “The United states Navy brought them back to sea today,” the first sentence read, describing the reunion on the USS Kidd off the coast of Virginia, “the eight surviving members of the Golden 13.”

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