While thousands of residents flocked to area beaches today, more than 100 turned out to a special Memorial Day service at the American Legion Post on James Island to honor the country’s veterans and honor those who have died serving in the armed forces.

Sen. Tim Scott shook hands with many of them and spoke briefly at the annual event.

“We’ve got a lot to be thankful for in this country,” Scott said.

He paid special tribute to Pfc. Barrett Austin, of Easley, who died after the vehicle he was traveling in was attacked by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan in April.

“He gave his life because he believed and loved freedom,” he said. “I had the privilege several weeks ago … to speak to his father about getting his son home, making sure that the transfers happen. I will tell you that talking to Mr. Austin about his son Barrett was one of the most moving experiences of my life.”

Ready more in an upcoming edition of The Post and Courier.

Reach Lauren Sausser at 937-5598.