Hopping off the hotel treadmill, I head for the elevator to return to my room when I hold the door for a middle-aged woman and older man heading to board. When they get on, I take a look at his jacket, cap and shirt and realize he's a Tuskegee Airman.
The last known living Tuskegee Airman of the the 477th Bombardment Group, Army Air Corps Staff Sgt. Leslie Edwards had just climbed onto my elevator.
At first he looks like he's not interested in chatting -- possibly tired after a long trip -- but when I introduce myself as an active service member, his face lights up and we talk. It's not a long talk, but I get off on his floor to get a photo with him and find out why he's here in town.
He was there to lay flowers on the grave of Air Force founding father and former Tuskegee commander Gen. Benjamin Davis and for one of the other leaders from the Tuskegee experiment, a man whose name now escapes me.
What's more, I saw a video about him visiting the "Red Tails" in Alaska no more than a year ago.
Of course, I was sweaty, nasty, and wearing running shorts (cropped out of my photo). It was an honor to meet him. The Tuskegee Airmen won't be around much longer and the legacy of their bravery and efforts should not soon be forgotten.
For more information, read the article and watch a short video below.