HENDERSON, Ky. (WEHT) One of the things you’ll likely hear at 4th of July events is the National Anthem. For one Tri-State Gold Star Mother singing the anthem today, it carries more meaning.
Cathy Mullins lost her son, Brandon, in 2011 while he was serving in Afghanistan.
For the past four years, she’s sung the National Anthem at hundreds of events to honor the country, and her son.
Before people at Ellis Park heard the sounds of horse racing this afternoon, they heard Cathy Mullins.
“It always brings chills all over my body,” says Tommy Mullins, Cathy’s husband and Brandon’s father.
“It is our first time here to Ellis Park,” Cathy says.
She says the first time she sung it was in 2015 in Chicago at an event with 15,000 people attending. Another person at a retreat she and Tommy were at recommended it after hearing the song they did in tribute to Brandon.
“We sang the song that Tommy wrote, and Deb heard it and said, ‘Cathy, do you do the National Anthem? I have this event coming up and we’d love to have you sing,” Cathy recalled.
“She’s always loved to sing, but not quite at this level where she’s always being asked to come to sing,” adds Tommy.
Since then, she’s sung those words about 120 times, including at Nashville Predators home games. But the lyrics didn’t come easy at first.
“Think about those lyrics. Oh say can you see. By the dawn’s early light. The bombs bursting in air. Brandon was killed by a roadside bomb. I honestly could not sing it. You work through those emotions at home, and sing it from your heart. It just becomes a part of who you are,” says Cathy.
Every time she sings, Brandon’s spirit is right with her. Cathy says its another way she keeps the memory of her son going.
“It really means a lot. I’m very honored to sing this song,” she says.
Cathy says she has at least twenty more performances scheduled for this year, including at upcoming events in Louisville.
Listen to her full performance here: