A cloud of dazzling red, white and blue sparks rose in the night, mushroomed and fell away, back down to the parched earth while the band played God Bless The USA. As everyone’s eyes were fixed heavenwards, Karen stared out across the highway into the darkness. Somewhere out there, her little boy sat with his grandmother, waiting for her. She had become a mommy of tiptoeing midnight kisses and rushed early mornings. The oohs and aahs and excited screams gave way to an insistent crackling from the open window of her Chevy Tahoe.

It was the dispatcher. All units. Four. One. Nine. Four. One. Nine.

And the band played on.