Cathy Mullins was able to sing the national anthem for Thursday night’s NFL game between the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots, and she said it was a full-circle experience. The Falcons also put together a surprise video message for Mullins.
Mullins said she got the opportunity after singing the national anthem at Fort Benning, Georgia, at the Sept. 11 memorial for veterans.
After that performance, Mullins — a Gold Star Mother — was granted the opportunity to record a special performance for the Falcons to use during their game against the Patriots, where they honored military families.
While filming at Fort Benning, she sang the anthem at least 20 times and filmed across the iconic base.
“We went to the different iconic places there on base,” she said. “It’s a pretty big ranger school. The rangers for the military train there. So we were highlighting the different training areas that the rangers do.”
When it came time for the showing, the Falcons had a special surprise for Mullins. After the video of her singing the anthem was over, the team coordinated to get a video of Mullins’ daughter and grandchildren in Japan saying hello from across the world.
One of Mullins’ grandchildren was born during the pandemic, and she still hasn’t had the chance to hold him yet. Nonetheless, the sight was a great feeling for Mullins and her husband.
“We had no idea they were gonna do that. Our daughter Bethany kept a really great secret,” Mullins said.
Yet, the biggest surprise came after the game when she headed back to her hotel for the night. On Facebook, she saw a memory that that day was the 11-year anniversary of her son Brandon’s enlist day in the military.
Brandon Mullins served in the military from 2010 to 2011, when he died while serving in Afghanistan. Since his death, the Mullins family has been attending the Sept. 11 memorial at Fort Benning.
It’s the same fort her son trained at before heading to war.
“These experiences would never have happened had it not been for the loss of our son Brandon,” Mullins said through near tears. “So I think it’s just extremely, just so special that he is remembered and honored in this way and we get to do things in his name to continue to live out his legacy.”