The Boys of Company Two

During my first year at the Naval Academy, I was fortunate enough to be in a senior-level English class. It was Shakespeare. Many have borrowed from him, and the military has lifted its share of passages.

One well-known speech by King Henry V in the play that bears his name may be over used, and its fame further enhanced by its ties to World War II. Despite its clichéd status, “Band of Brothers” applies to what had once been a bitter, nearly defeated ragtag group of misfits. (My fellow misfits may disagree with my characterization.)

My reference to a kinship with this group answers the question left open in the last post about this 25th reunion: Event experience beat out event prep. My money had been on the prep (in many ways), and I was wrong. This small band of teens from Second Company had lost touch in many ways long before graduation. The challenges the group faced had started as external issues, but became internal demons that remained with some longer than others.

Fast forward to 25 years to a hotel in Annapolis, Md. Hundreds of people filled a darkened reception, but somehow we found each other, and only this band of brothers mattered. The vibe was that of early Plebe Summer; the carnage of Fort Apache Annapolis was nowhere to be seen. I am unsure if we were wiser, but it did not matter. My boys—my brothers—were as beautiful and full of optimism as they has been that summer in 1980. They basked in the glow of one another, a reflection of pride and maybe some relief tossed in. We were together to be, yes, just to be as it turned out. We remained together the weekend. One brother created an event just for the brethren of Company Two. (Dive bars were created by God.)

I’d like to say the four-inch heels made the difference. They did not. I could have worn burlap and flip-flops, but the prep was worth the effort. It was my ode to my band of brothers, my way of saying, “You are more important to me than you may ever know.”

But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen [worldwide] now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon [Reunion] day.

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