A Gator drive through the pasture serves as an introduction to a herd of cattle and the property’s protective bull. A kid plays chase with a baby goat, while other children cheer for the lasso competition. All are welcome to try their hands at horseback riding.
A crew of fit, handsome gentleman emerges from the woods, covered in colorful paint, playfully bantering with one another. “You really are the best shot, at least when it comes to paintball.” These are members of U.S. Navy SEAL Team Two. Just a few days ago, they were on a mission somewhere far, far away. This is their welcome home party.
“From the bottom of my heart, thank you, fellas.”
Several years ago, a generous Virginia rancher decided to show gratitude to the SEALs. He invited them and their families to his property for an escape from the worries of military life. These visits are now a tradition, and I’m thankful to be here.
The sun’s fading below the horizon, the smell of a BBQ feast is in the air and live music draws a crowd to the barn decorated in American flags and beaming with patriotism. Our host says a few words of thanks to the fellas and dancing begins. It’s a moving scene: America’s finest and their loved ones – people who sacrifice so much for the greater good – laughing and celebrating togetherness.
Good to go.
Among the attendees is Harry Constance, a member of the very first SEAL Team Two, established in 1962. Mr. Constance is a friendly, animated person who seems to enjoy telling vivid stories about his time in Vietnam. With a trip to Vietnam planned for next month, I’ll be sure to check out his book, Good to Go.
It’s been a full, emotional day of activities and meeting new people. On the ride back to D.C., my thoughts are with the past and friends from college who joined the service. Wherever they are tonight, I hope they are safe and happy.