DENVER (CBS4) – As Mark Stallins watched the Taliban overtake Afghanistan, the Coloradan started thinking about what he could do. Stallins has become well-known for taking his trumpet to Fort Logan National Cemetery to play patriotic tunes for mourning families. He’s now on a new mission.
“We are honoring the Colorado veterans who lost their lives in Afghanistan,” Stallins said. “What I care about is, these families are hurting and if I can just play ‘Taps’ for that person, and the family can see it, then they know at least somebody didn’t forget.”
Stallins and his trumpet have now traveled all over the country as part of his nonprofit, the National Honor Tour. This week, he’s focusing on home.READ MORE: Colorado Army Veteran & Afghanistan Interpreter Will Reunite As Neighbors: 'How Cool Is That?'
Traveling from Fort Collins to Pueblo and out to Grand Junction to play at every grave he can find of a service member killed in Afghanistan. He’s expecting to play “Taps” more than 43 times.
“I know personally, people who served there who are still questioning ‘why? Why did we just spend 20 years there? What was their service for? Was their service worth it?'” Stallins said. “But to honor their service is more important to me than to ask that question.”
At each headstone, Stallins calls out the name of the service member and shouts, “We honor you today. We forget you never. Standby for military honors.” Next, he plays “Taps” on his custom trumpet. He streams almost every rendition on Facebook for families of the fallen service members.
“They have peace and that they have pride knowing their family member really did sacrifice his life so that his country can remain free,” Stallins said.