A Gold Star family member is someone who has lost a loved one while they were fighting in a war. Mother Cathy Mullins lost her son Brandon at 21 years-old while he was serving in Afghanistan.
Now she tours the region singing the national anthem and stopped at Ellis Park to spread their message “to enjoy freedom, because it was paid for.”
“Oh say can you see, by the dawn early light. What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s lasts gleaming,” Cathy sings.
Cathy says every time she sings The Star-Spangled Banner she is honoring her son Brandon Scott Mullins. Her middle son Brandon was killed in Afghanistan in 2011. The Mullins have met with several other Gold Star families.
“In meeting them and hearing their stories it gives us strength, because we see their strength so we all… We found strength in each other,” says Mullins.
“We were at a Gold Star family retreat in North Carolina. We actually got to jump with the Army Golden Knights.”
The Mullins family made the leap of faith.
“Life is too short. We’ve lost so many of our family members, we just lost Brandon and this is in honor of Brandon,” says Mullins.
The retreat was the start of what we hear today.
“Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight. O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming,” sings Cathy.
“My husband had wrote a tribute song about Brandon and he sang the lead, and I sing harmony.”
Now Cathy is leading the national anthem at several events around the region.
The Star-Spangled Banner is about a time of battle.
“Even the lyrics, “The bombs bursting in air…”
“Our son was killed by a road side bomb in Afghanistan and the first time leading up to singing it the first time it was hard to sing those lyrics, hard to even say those lyrics,” says Cathy.
“And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there,” Cathy sings.
“The Nashville Predators put out a call for national anthem singers, and the hockey moms in Owensboro, Brandon played hockey. So those hockey mom’s knew about the contest and said Cathy you need to check this out.”
Cathy says Brandon is with her.
“It’s like thanks Brandon, thanks Brandon,” she says.
“Like even today the breeze started blowing really cool out there when I was singing because it is really hot today, and so I am like thanks Brandon.”
And provides opportunities to share their message.
“He died for our freedom. The song means freedom, it’s what it’s about,” says Cathy.
“Oh, say does that Star-spangled Banner yet wave o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave,” Cathy sings.
The Mullins family has a Brandon Scott Memorial Foundation called Kentucky Remembers.
Their next event is a 5k walk on November 9th.