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1000 Church St., Nashville, TN 37203
Today's 5 a.m.-10 p.m.
Directions | More Hours


1000 Church St., Nashville, TN 37203
Today's 5 a.m.-10 p.m.
Directions | More Hours

Veterans Reflect on Memorial Day

April 22, 2019

The Downtown Y wants to recognize and honor the many women and men who have served in our Armed Forces. Thank you! This month, we pay tribute to three of our morning regulars who served.

Clyde Bright

Clyde was born in Donelson and attended Two Rivers High School. “I did not do very well in high school,” he said. “As a teenager, I would see soldiers from Fort Campbell at the Greyhound bus stop on 5th and Church Street, and knew that was what I wanted to do. So I enlisted in the 101st Airborne in 1966. But at the time, I had no idea what was going on in Vietnam!” Clyde said. “When I told my dad, he said ‘Son, you need to turn on the news.’”

For his service, Clyde was awarded the Bronze Star. Following his tour in Southeast Asia, he graduated from Austin Peay State University and obtained his CPA license. He recently retired and enjoys his farm in Carthage, Tennessee, taking RV trips and scuba diving.

Clyde’s thoughts on Memorial Day: “I think about all the men and women that have made the ultimate sacrifice so that this great country remains a free nation. As the saying goes, ‘freedom is NOT free.’ I especially think about the guys I served with in Vietnam that gave their life for our country. I miss them each and every day and feel honored to have served with such heroic and brave men. God bless the USA, land of the free and brave.”

Howie Caughron

Born in Kisar, Arkansas, Howie served in the Marine Corps from 1960-1968, piloting the F-4 Phantom in more than 125 combat missions during the conflict in Southeast Asia. After his military career, he went on to work for American Airlines.

Now, you can usually find Howie at the Y playing racquetball (with fellow veteran Ken Martin), “tinkering” in real estate, or at every event/ballgame that involves his four granddaughters.

When asked what Memorial Day means to Howie, he said, “This day gives us another way to publicly say thank you to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.”

Phil Hill

An East Nashville native, Phil attended Holy Name School, Father Ryan High, and Saint Bernard College in Cullman, Alabama. In 1967, he entered the U.S. Army and graduated from helicopter flight school.

Phil served in Vietnam with the 170th Assault Helicopter Company—the famed Flying Bikinis. He continued flying with the Tennessee Army National Guard until 2006.

Phil received numerous awards, including the Purple Heart and the Drug Enforcement Agency’s Award for Valor. A YMCA member since 1972, he has had a successful career in banking, building, and land development. Phil now enjoys life at his home on Old Hickory Lake and spending time with his grandchildren.

On Memorial Day, Phil thanks God that he survived a year of combat duty and thinks about his friends and all the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

Thank you again to all of our veterans. We honor you today and every day.

YMCA of Middle Tennessee

Association Office
1000 Church St.
Nashville, TN 37203
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