Photo above: A Dataw resident and veteran salutes the flag during one of the many community events held to honor veterans. Photo by Laura McCarty.
By Laura McCarty
There are always special events in the Beaufort area to salute our veterans, but Dataw Island stands out.
The community doesn’t just honor veterans for a day, but rather for a whole week with a variety of ceremonies and fundraisers for veterans’ causes.
Veterans and supporters gathered around the flag in honor of their service on Nov. 7 at Dataw Island.
Around 100 servicemen and women from all branches of the military participated in this Annual March and Rally.
The early morning fog still hung low as the veterans assumed formation and marched to the pole, led by the Beaufort High School JROTC Color Guard.
After a teary-eyed raising of the colors, the Beaufort Harbormasters, a choral group led by Tim McGrath, treated the crowd with majestic renditions of patriotic songs, including the songs from each military branch: “Anchors Aweigh” for the U.S. Navy, “The Caissons Go Rolling Along” for the U.S. Army, “The Wild Blue Yonder” for the U.S. Air Force, “The Marines’ Hymn” for the U.S. Marine Corps and “Semper Paratus” for the U.S. Coast Guard.
The week-long Veterans Celebration kicked off Nov. 4 with guest bartenders at Sweetgrass restaurant, followed on Nov. 5 with the “Flag Brigade,” for which a group of Dataw Island volunteers painstakingly placed 3,500 flags along 2.5 miles of roadways on the island to usher in their honored guests.
On Nov. 6, Assistant Golf Professional Chris Fearn bested himself in playing 219 holes of golf in one day. Fearn took pledges based on each hole he completed, as well as how many birdies and eagles he made, in order to raise money for the On Course Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports the recovery of wounded, injured and ill service personnel and veterans through golf.
On Nov. 7, following the March and Rally, a golf tournament for veterans of all ages and their supporters was played on both of the Dataw Island golf courses.
The Veterans Golf Classic supports Tee it Up for the Troops, which has beneficiaries such as the Fischer House which builds comfort homes in V.A. and medical centers enabling family members to be close to their injured sons and daughters, which saves them thousands of dollars a month in lodging, travel and food costs. They also support the Gary Sinise Foundation, the On Course Foundation, the Simpson Cup, and the Warrior Canine Connection, to name just a few.
After a fun round of golf, bagpipers ushered attendees into a luncheon in the Carolina Room to celebrate the service and sacrifice of many men and women, to feature testimonies provided by wounded veterans.
Last but certainly not least, the Dataw Island Veteran of the Year was named at a special breakfast. Guests also heard from guest speaker Wells Morrison, Dataw Island’s outgoing director of security who was the field supervisor in charge of the 9/11 investigation in Southwestern Pennsylvania.
Dataw Issland is a gated golf, tennis and boating lifestyle community located fifteen minutes outside of historic downtown Beaufort.
Veterans Day Events
• The Beaufort Veterans Day Parade and Ceremony will be held on Saturday, Nov. 11. The parade will step off in downtown Beaufort at 9:30 a.m. at Rodgers and Boundary streets. It will proceed to Carteret Street to the bridge, right onto Bay Street, then right onto Bladen Street and back to the Beaufort National Cemetery. A ceremony featuring the Parris Island Marine Band will start at 11 a.m. at the Beaufort National Cemetery.
• The Lowcountry Wind Symphony will perform “Saluting America’s Veterans III” at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10, at St. Peter’s Catholic Church on 70 Lady’s Island Drive in Beaufort. Special seating will be available for World War II veterans.