It wasn’t raining. The smoke from fires north and south tinted the late morning air.  Each speaker rose, spoke and then sat. Some might have heard every word but not us, who could barely make out the National Anthem that not a single person knelt during. No one that I could see was singing either. 

     “If not for the veteran...” the lady eventually spoke as three uniformed men folding the flag, worked. I was lost in my own thoughts. Millions and millions of veterans, now perhaps more than ever since the 2000 “election”...we celebrated them all today, because if not for them, well? 

     I’m not doing the numbers, just guessing...the lady read the numbers but we could not hear them. “There would be no politicians...”, they folded and we watched but struggled to hear, each fold...a different  “If not for...”, and then  we might have heard a recording of bagpiped Amazing Grace, but only after the lady tried hard to get the audience to sing along to God Bless America, which I could pick out for sure. 

      Why do we serve? A uniformed grey haired guy read a whole list of reasons, but then went on to speak about the role veterans play, and I saw a few heads nodding but could not really hear. election year like no other in my lifetime. Maybe the veterans will save us, but not the campus organizer...the lady had led with that. I heard her say...”that if not for the veteran, there would be no campus organizer.”

        I’ve heard this all before...all of it, but in  smoke tinted air while votes were still being counted? Never.     



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