Sarah McCammon

Sarah McCammon worked for Iowa Public Radio as Morning Edition Host from January 2010 until December 2013.

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For his first commencement speech as president, Donald Trump went back to a place that was once key to his efforts as a candidate to shore up support among the Republican base.

Standing before tens of thousands of members of the Class of 2017 and their families at Liberty University's open-air stadium in Lynchburg, Va., Trump thanked the crowd for helping him achieve the presidency.

"I wanna thank you because, boy, did you come out and vote — those of you that are old enough; in other words, your parents," Trump said. "Boy, oh boy, you voted. You voted!"

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When three sacred staples of the South weren't safe from the cloudy, salty water in his town, Clay Duffie knew there was a problem.

"It'd kill your azaleas if you irrigated with it; your grits would come out in a big clump, instead of creamy like they should," Duffie said.

Even the sweet tea.

"Your tea would come out all cloudy," Duffie said. "Oh man, it was bad news."

When 60-year-old Owen Golay talks about the two Confederate flags he flies in his front yard, he sounds like many Southern defenders of such symbols.

"It stands for heritage; it's a part of our history," Golay said.

But it's not really his history. Golay lives in rural Pleasantville, Iowa, about 40 miles from where he was born. He still carries a small Confederate flag that his father gave him as a child. But aside from some people way back in his family tree who fought on both sides in the Civil War, he has no real ties to the South.

After high school, Staff Sgt. Kimi wanted to go to art school, but she didn't have the money. So she joined the military.

Intelligence analysts like Kimi work with drone pilots and others in the Air Force to guide decisions about where to deploy weapons in the fight against ISIS and al-Qaida. (The U.S. Air Force won't release her last name because of the high-security work she does).

This weekend marks 10 years since the deadliest campus shooting in U.S. history, at Virginia Tech.

Thirty-two people were killed and many others injured on April 16, 2007, on the campus in Blacksburg, Va. Still others witnessed the shooting and were physically unharmed, but carry psychological wounds that they've also spent the last decade recovering from.

April 6 marks 100 years since the U.S. Congress voted to declare war on Germany, entering World War I. The war took the lives of 17 million people worldwide. What's not as well-known is the role that animals played at a time when they were still critical to warfare.

If the election results of 2016 were really about rejecting the political establishment, then Congress didn't get the memo. After all, 97 percent of incumbents in the U.S. House of Representatives seeking re-election won even as national polls show overwhelming disapproval of Congress.

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