A journey through time: one World War II veteran's unique collection that takes him back day by day

Posted at 10:32 PM, Sep 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-02 23:32:19-04

On September 2, 2018, World War II veterans celebrated the war officially ending 73 years before. Different veterans remember in different ways, but Frank Riesinger of Broken Arrow remembers in a way all his own.

More than 1,000 newspapers sit sprawled across Riesinger's dining room table, chairs, and shelves. Each paper is from each day the U.S. was involved in World War II, over a nearly-four-year span. The papers all came from Tulsa, but Riesinger getting ahold of them was, to him, fate.

Riesinger began collecting his own papers from the war in the 1940s, but a decade later found they had been discarded. More than 60 years later in 2018, he came across a complete stranger, with whom he now shares a unique and special connection.

"He said, 'I overheard you talking. I found a whole bunch of papers in a closet in the house I'm cleaning out, getting ready to throw them away. Would you like them?'" Riesinger recalled. "And I said, 'oh my God, there's my collection!'"

Henry Bodden, a local historian who has traveled the world researching World War II says he's never seen anything like the collection. He says the quality and expanse of the papers is something that will be difficult to preserve: "but it's important that it's done."

The papers span from the attack on Pearl Harbor to the Japanese surrender on August 15, 1945, and include the formal surrender on September 2, and even the original peacetime draft list in Tulsa County in 1940. Riesinger says he's happy to host anyone who wishes to take a walk down memory lane with him, day by day.