FORT LOGAN CEMETERY, Colo. – Monday marked the 150th anniversary of what we now know as Memorial Day.
For some people, the day signals the unofficial start to the summer season. For others, Memorial Day is a day of great solemnity.
At Fort Logan Cemetery, hundreds spent their Monday morning honoring fallen loved ones at an annual Memorial Day service.
“This provides me confirmation of what he's done in his life,” Eleanor Rodriguez told Denver7.
She’s referring to her father, Army Staff Sergeant William Stull.
Stull dedicated nearly 40-years of his life to the United States Army. He died in November 1999.
“It's a very emotional day, yes… but with goodness in our hearts,” she said through tears.
She credited the music played at the service as something that continues to keep her father’s memory alive.
Rodriguez explained her father played the tuba in the 26th Army band.
“Memorial Day, he'd put on his white gloves,” she described. “My mom would barbecue. He'd put the music on. So, this really touches my heart.
The same music that Mark Stallins and Renee Nellis use to honor the fallen.
“For family members… it's recognition,” Stallins said.
The two lead an intimate undertaking, visiting gravesites of heroes they’ve never had the honor of meeting.
“Seeing all the headstones and the flags just remind you of how many heroes we have,” Nellis shared. “[Heroes] that have come out and fought for us and for the freedoms we have today.”
This holiday weekend, they honored hundreds of fallen soldiers in private and individual TAPS performances.
Stallins described the unique responsibility he’s taken upon himself, “There's crying, there's always a hug. There's always a, ‘Thank you,’ and there's always an, ‘It's my honor.’”
On Monday, Stallins surprised Eleanor and her mother with an emotional performance of their own.
Stallins brought a bit of music back into their lives, ending his performance by simply saying, “It’s my honor.”