BIXBY, Okla. — Frank Riesinger laid to rest his friend he hadn't seen since the two went to basic training together during World War II. The day served as a humbling reminder of the little time we have left with our oldest veterans.
As Riesinger paid respects to his friend Billy Ray Scaggs, he reminisced about the time the two met in the Army Air Corps, and the love Scaggs had for being in the air.
"It was a real honor to do this for a buddy," Riesinger said. "We just had a great time together, and that's what I remember about Billy, he was so much fun to be around."
Scaggs' son Clarence remembers his father as a "flier", not just a pilot.
"There was my dad and there was a pilot. If it flew he wanted to be in it," Clarence said.
Scaggs spent 29,000 hours of his life in the air. Before a 34-year career with Delta in which he retired as a captain, he trained pilots in the Air Force.
Scaggs died on Valentine's Day 2020, and was laid to rest next to his wife six days later. His old friend Riesinger wanted to make sure he got the send-off he deserves, so Riesinger saluted his casket and delivered Scaggs' flag to Clarence and his family.
For Riesinger, the day served as a reminder of the little time left our oldest veterans have to pass on their legacy, and the importance of making sure the next generation remembers what his fought for.
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