There is a lot to be said for camaraderie. The dictionary defines it as “loyalty and warm, friendly feelings among comrades.”

However, I think a deeper explanation is warranted.

When two or more people share an exceptional experience together, a bond is created that can’t be severed. The bond might be strong or weak depending on the experience, but it is still there.

Perryville, KY reenactment, image from Charlie Coleman on Facebook

Perryville, KY reenactment, image from Charlie Coleman on Facebook

A few weekends ago, I participated in a Civil War Reenactment at Perryville, KY. Our unit marched and fought all over the battlefield for two days. We endured cold nights, little sleep, and not an abundance of food; while wearing the same clothes for almost three days.  We were working together for the common goal of saying “Thank You” in our own paltry way to our Civil War ancestors for what they suffered for four years.

In camp at Perryville, image from Paul Ridgell on Facebook

In camp at Perryville, image from Paul Ridgell on Facebook

Some of us had special bonds that were renewed. There is one man that I consider one of the greatest people I know. When we saw each other at the reenactment we hugged each other like brothers.  We had participated in a very special experience in 1999, when we were a part of the Red River II event. We marched over 56 miles in six days, sleeping out under the stars and reenacting the Battles of Mansfield and Pleasant Hill, LA.  Our bond was very strong.

So you might ask, what is an exceptional experience? It can be anything from graduating from the same high school, to serving in the military together, to being married for 50 years.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that participating in exceptional experiences binds us with fellow human beings, and I believe it is something that every person needs to seek, because it imbues us with that emotion that is unique to our species: Love.