My assignment was to search for the mood of America in the wake of tragedy. But what does that mean? For me, it meant exploring the rural landscape, looking for those moments that offer a glimpse into the soul of places and people. So it was that I was in Alliance, Neb. - Home of the Bulldogs - for Friday-night football Sept. 21.
There was crying and silence before the game in memory of those lost in last month's attacks. But finally, the football was placed on the tee and reality kicked in. Routines began again. At halftime, I saw two friends make their way to the sidelines of the field to spend some time alone before the team returned to resume play. Their exchange was natural and refreshing, and when Bulldog Bob joined them - enchanting. I smiled at the scene I had captured. It felt good to smile again.