Roscoe Brown, David Dinkins & Me
Hmmmm, how can these three people be connected?
Well, I was working on the USS Intrepid this morning, as I do once a week as a volunteer. Today the museum partially closed at the end of my shift to stage a celebration of the life of Roscoe Brown.
Dr. Brown was one of the famous Tuskegee Airmen of World War II. He flew 68 combat missions in his P-51 Mustang fighter - Bunnie. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for valor in air combat. After the war he got his doctorate, and last year he died at 94. Another one of our WW II vets gone, and also one of the last of the Tuskegee Airmen.
The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum held a private presentation, jazz concert and reception in his honor today. Many dignitaries came and near the end of the events, four F-16 Fighting Falcons from Captain Brown's 100th Fighter Squadron flew down the Hudson and over our aircraft carrier in his honor, performing the missing man formation.
His Honor, the former Mayor of NYC, David Dinkins was one of the invited guests. Mayor Dinkins, who was succeeded by Rudy Giuliani, is almost 90 himself.
I was leaving the carrier this afternoon as my shift ended. Guests of the memorial were pouring in. As I got to the bottom of the stairs on Pier 86, a long black limousine pulled up right in front of me. The door opened, and to my surprise, out stepped Mayor Dinkins looking very dapper in a white suit, with a wooden cane.
So there we were face to face, just a few feet apart, and I said, "Hello, Mr. Dinkins. May I tell you something?" His entourage, bodyguard and staff were quickly surrounding us as he said, "yes."
"In 1976, when you were the Manhattan County Clerk, you signed my Wedding License" I said.
He looked worried at first, but then he looked at my Intrepid Name Tag, smiled and said, "How's the bride, Tom?"
Well, I smiled back and told him she was great and we had just celebrated our 40th Anniversary. I told him it was an honor to meet him and he stuck out his hand. We shook.
Then I took out my iPhone and started to ask if we could take a selfie. At that point his staff could take no more of me, and whisked him away.