After the sunrise ceremony and breakfast at the ranch, it was time for one more round of fun.
The male Eagles had decided to play a game of capture the flag; the female Eagles would be armed with paint guns, laying down a murderous field of fire.
We assembled to read Lord Tennyson’s famous poem:
‘Forward, the Light Brigade!’
Was there a man dismay’d?
Not tho'(though) the soldiers knew
Some one had blunder’d:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
The defenders took their position. The cavalry prepared to charge the artillery, even though they knew it was suicidal.
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro’ the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.
The slaughter was difficult to watch. Brave Hayes stormed the beach and fell.
Then Brave Mason would grab the flag before falling in a hail of gunshots, that seemed never ending. (Apparently “cease fire” sounds a lot like “keep firing” if you’ve never been to a firing range.)
Brave Charlie would capture the flag too.
Following paintball, more swimming and sack races and watermelon eating down by the swimming hole, until a tired band of Eagles gather up to go home.
It would be the last time the original cast would be together as one; next year we will add twelve new Eagles to the original band, and the following year twelve more.
It was a fitting celebration for our original band of pioneers, one that none of us will ever forget.