Reliving the past usually seems nearly impossible. At least that's what one father thought, until Saturday, when his family set up the surprise of a lifetime and a chance to go back in time.
No one ever said pulling off a surprise is a breeze. But when you have a Dad like Gerry Rigg, you might be willing to put forth the extra effort, like his son John.
“He's your typical good guy dad who did without to make sure all of us had something,” he said. “We've been at it for about a week and I mean this has been the slowest week of my entire life.”
In one month dad turns 92 years old. For his birthday he thought he was just going to watch an airshow.
Little did he know, he was in for a ride of his life in a plane that was his life.
When Gerry was about 20 years old he fought in World War II in the Army Airforce. His specialty was the B-29 bomber, the very style of bomber that just so happened to be in town and the only flying B-29 left in the world.
“He's been a kid at Christmas for the last week,” John said.
Consider Saturday Christmas morning. “You get a chance to fly in her one more time,” John told Gerry.
“Do I get to wear a parachute?” Gerry asked.
Old habits really do die hard, even when you're taken by total surprise. “I would have never dreamed of this. It's overwhelming,” Gerry said.
Similar to 1945, Gerry needed to meet all the requirements before boarding, even go through a briefing.
That was a mission Gerry could accept. From that point, it was just like riding a bike for him.
The aircraft is nicknamed the ‘Superfortress' and Saturday marked Gerry's first time on board one in nearly 70 years.
“It's been a long time since I've seen that baby,” he said.
About 30 minutes later, the plane touched down but Gerry was still in the clouds.
“It's something I've always wanted to do for my father and I'm so thankful I finally had a chance to do it,” John said.
“I didn't expect nothing like this. It was wonderful. I really enjoyed it,” said Gerry.
Gerry didn't just survive World War II. He's also a cancer survivor.
The airshow runs all day Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Wiley Post in Bethany.