They came from as far away as Hawaii, silver-haired heroes converging on their nation’s capital to celebrate their place in history.
But the fact that there were so many fewer of them this year was painfully obvious to the heroes.
They once numbered 15,000 — 992 pilots, 200 navigators, bombardiers and administrators, as well as legions of crew members and support and medical personnel who came to be known as the Tuskegee Airmen.
Seventy years later, their ranks have fallen precipitously. Only a few more than 100 of the “originals” from the Tuskegee days were among those who came to Washington this week for the 40th annual convention of Tuskegee Airmen Inc. at National Harbor’s Gaylord hotel.