For most teens, Memorial Day means an extra day off school and a long weekend. But 17-year old Colin Lewis chose to spend his Memorial Day paying homage to veterans.
Lewis spent Memorial Day at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver playing patriotic songs on his bagpipes for families visiting veterans who have been laid to rest there. His gesture and beautiful playing often bring people to tears as they visit the gravesite of their loved one.
“I do this to show my support, and thankfulness, for what our veterans have done for us,” says Colin. “When I see a family near a gravestone, I go up to them and ask them if they would like me to play a song.”
Colin has been playing the bagpipes nearly his entire life and even gives lessons on the instrument. In past years, Colin has spent Veterans Day walking through the cemetery with his bagpipes. He also volunteers his services on the 4th of July and during military funerals.
“Colin has always been a patriot,” says Colin’s father, Charles Lewis. “I am very proud of him.”
It was only fitting that Colin also spent Memorial Day playing songs on his bagpipes for families visiting the cemetery, including Lawrence Moran and his daughter, who were both brought to tears by Colin’s song.
“I came out to pay my respects to my dad and my great-grandfather,” said Moran. “It meant a lot. The bagpipes were my dad’s favorite musical instrument.”
Colin says that while it’s common for people to become emotional while listening to the bagpipes. Some even give him a hug when he’s finished playing.
“I have seen the biggest, toughest, most tattooed bearded biker dudes, tough guys, be brought to tears by the bagpipes,” he says.
Not yet a senior in high school, Colin may one day join the ranks of those he tries to honor.
“I have a massive respect for all of our veterans passed away or still active duty,” says Colin. “I definitely want to do something with my life that will make a big impact and I think the military would be a great way to do that.”