Good to See the America We Fought For
July 16, 2019
As many of you know, the Warrior Bonfire Program takes 6 or 7 wounded veterans, links them up with a trip, and lets the experience do the healing. Whether it’s fishing, winter adaptive sports or otherwise, the event speaks for itself. No such clarity for this trip, especially for me being on my first veterans outing of any kind.
The group arrived, with one coming in late…Google Maps directions don’t work too well in rural South Dakota. Several of us, myself included, were career servicemen and the rest had the desire to, but had their careers cut short by injuries. We also had one Vietnam veteran, which was educational for us. Utilizing the ranch guest house we settled in. This being the first time Warrior Bonfires had used the Majestic for a trip, there was going to be some ‘learn as we go.”
That’s where the Majestic comes in. The Majestic Ranch sits in the rolling grasslands of far southeastern South Dakota, near the Missouri River and the Lewis and Clark trail. People out here on the ranches live according to the seasons, whether torrential spring rains or blizzards. All while raising cattle supporting the beef industry of America. But what does the Majestic have that made this trip so special? After all, there are Dude Ranches everywhere that cater to people who want a taste of cowboy life, and this is a working ranch.
Here, in what is normal for Tony and Meghan, their family, friends, and neighbors, we saw something special. Time for shots and branding of calves? Lets go to work. Friends and family showed up. The part we loved was the kids. The Weborg’s kids were all business. It was dirty, stinky work. Roping, throwing calves. Tagging, cutting, shots. They and their friends all but took over, with the “adults” there mostly for guidance. These kiddos knew how to work! All of us veterans had plenty of time in service, and none of us tolerated slackers and whiners, and only gave out “Atta boys” only grudgingly. We were to a person amazed at what we saw in these young adults. There was no griping-they made their own fun, accepting the work as something to be done. Polite, respectful. Trusted with the ranch truck. Independent. Seeing what needs to be done and doing it. Trustworthy. Boots off at the door. Yessir, nossir. Smiles all the time. These are all words I come up with as I don’t have the room to describe everything. Families together. Talk of how bad the spring rains were and all the news focused on the South.
While all of our stories are different, and we all took something different away, I think I can speak for all on one common thread. It WAS worth it.