Marking Memorial Day with reverence

Colt Drew of Goose Creek

While most teenagers get ready to head to the beach or enjoy some other form of relaxation to celebrate Memorial Day, 13-year-old Colt Drew of Goose Creek has a heavier weight on his shoulders today.

He will put on his honor guard uniform, head to the James Island American Legion and play Taps at a Memorial Day service.

“He does an excellent job,” said David Coates Jr., a member of the honor guard based at the Goose Creek American Legion.

Coates recruited Colt because there’s a shortage of Taps players for military funerals and services, especially in the Lowcountry, with its heavy military population. Colt, who is home-schooled, is an accomplished trumpet player, and both his parents, Debbie and Mike Drew, were in the Navy.

“The military is close to our hearts,” she said.

Taps sounds easy, but playing it under pressure is anything but easy, since nerves tend to make the lips tremble. Colt said he was almost sick the first time he played a funeral a couple months ago, but now it’s becoming almost routine. But not entirely.

“Every time I do it, I feel a little nervous,” he said.

He also played Taps at a Memorial Day service Sunday in Mount Pleasant Memorial Gardens. Besides Taps, he also plays with his older sister, Danielle Drew, a pianist, in the lobby of the Medical University of South Carolina’s Ashley Tower.

“I believe in serving,” Debbie Drew said. “That’s my goal for my kids.”

Patriots Point had its Memorial Day service Sunday afternoon. An enthusiastic crowd packed the theater on the aircraft carrier Yorktown to listen to the 282nd Army Band from Fort Jackson.

“We want to pay honor to those we have lost in the past,” said Cecil Griffin one of more than 200 who attended the first of two concerts.

The usual admission fee was waived for the first concert, although the $5 parking fee applied.

The Yorktown is always a popular destination on Memorial Day weekend, and Sunday was no exception, despite warnings that Tropical Storm Beryl could bring some rain. The crowd was heavy throughout the ship, and there was no indication the storm warnings had hurt attendance, Patriots Point Public Information Officer Ashley Smith said.

Many in the crowd were from out of town, and they said they planned to be there one way or the other.

“I have an umbrella in the car,” said Jim Langmesser, visiting from Atlanta. “We’re enjoying the breeze.”

Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.