The valor of America’s veterans reminds us why we remain free..

My nine hunting companions last weekend in South Texas didn’t look particularly special. Ranging from early-30s to mid-40s, they could be mistaken for the young doctor down the street, the general manager of the car dealership, the guy who builds custom motorcycles.

But they are extraordinary. Among them, they had a Navy Cross, four Silver Stars, 26 Bronze Stars for valor and four Purple Hearts. These were Navy SEALs with a combined 150 years of service and more than 67 overseas deployments in the war against terror.

The men had taken leave time to spend Veterans Day hunting quail and deer with friends of the Navy SEAL Foundation at Loralee and Al West’s San Rafael Ranch just north of the Rio Grande River. It was their way of expressing thanks for all the foundation does to support their families and teammates. For the rest of us, it was an extraordinary honor to share the pleasures of their company.