There's no doubt in my mind, Thomas W. Brunker, Jr. would not have any
difficulty explaining the meaning of Memorial 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.Memorial Day is a federal holiday observed annually in the United States on the last Monday of May. Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union soldiers who died in the Civil War. By the 20th century Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died in all wars.

At the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA, we have been served by so many men and women who certainly will be spending this day remembering those who died while serving with them 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