Thoughts from the executive

November 11, 2014

Remembering why we have Veterans Day

There's no doubt in my mind, Thomas W. Brunker, Jr. would not have any difficulty explaining the meaning of Veteran's Day long before Wikipedia made it easy - if you were really interested.

My father was called to be with the Lord on May 26, 1981. It was the day after Memorial Day that year and Maria and I were preparing to travel back to Detroit to have him see his first grandson who was born earlier that month.

It seemed there were two topics at every discussion we had. The first spun out of his 19 years of service in the U.S. Army and how he entered at age 16 in 1939 for portions of WWII and Korea. The second sounded like "Son, I want you to go to college so that you can have a better life than mine." So, I did. But, topic number one was often part of any discussion and now, my classmates and neighborhood friends were enlisting and being drafted for the Vietnam War.

A number of black naval pioneers gather in this photo taken at Howard University in the late 1980s: a master chief petty officer, at the top of the enlisted rate structure; Samuel Gravely, first black flag officer; one of the first black women naval aviators; Samuel Barnes of the Golden Thirteen; Wesley Brown, first black Naval academy graduate; and Captain Eugene Bailey, among the relatively few black four-stripers.Veterans Day is an official United States holiday that honors people who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, also known as veterans. It is a federal holiday that is observed on November 11. It coincides with other holidays such as Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, which are celebrated in other parts of the world and also mark the anniversary of the end of World War I (major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect). The United States also originally observed Armistice Day; it then evolved into the current Veterans Day holiday in 1954. Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day; Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving.

At the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA, we have been served by so many men and women who served our country in the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines, and Navy. Take time today and every day to elevate them in your thoughts and prayers in appreciation for their service and honor the memories that survive with every breath they take.

Current Jackie Robinson Family YMCA Board Members:

  • Dr. Eugene Bailey, Navy
  • Hazel Davis, Naval Hospital
  • Gilbert Harlan, Navy
  • Tayari Howard, Coast Guard
  • Randy Jones, Navy with Past Board Chair Theo Logan, Army
  • Ray McKewon, Navy
  • Douglas Shamburger, Navy with Tony Russell, Marines

Jackie Robinson Family YMCA Friends & Staff include but not limited to:

  • Will Brockman, Navy
  • Ambrose Broadus, Army
  • Buffalo Soldiers, Army
  • Jerry Coleman, Marines
  • E.J. Hearn, Navy
  • Jack Kirkman, Navy
  • Tyra Hawthorne, Marines
  • Theo Logan, Army
  • John Nelson, Navy
  • Joe Outlaw, Army
  • James Price, Marines
  • Jackie Robinson, Army
  • Leon Williams, Army
  • U.S. Navy SEALs

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  1. “This is beautiful Michael. ”

    Desiree August 05, 2015 at 10:47am Permalink

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