Family of war veteran remembers D-Day - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Family of war veteran remembers D-Day


Thousands of soldiers risked their lives on D-Day, including Lt. Francis Cunningham of Richmond. Although during that time he lost friends, survived plane crashes, and even went missing in action, he still says he would do anything to protect his country.

Lt. Cunningham is a man of action, as evident by his decorated uniform, but the 92-year-old is also one of few words. His wife, Eleanor said he always has been, especially regarding his military career.

Mrs. Cunningham says he volunteered to serve as a glider pilot during World War Two, and his skills were needed right away.

"He landed in North Africa in June of 1944," she said. "And from there of course, we had a little upset with Sicily there, and from there they went into England. Then the big push on June the 6th."

However, his family only recently learned about what really happened during that "big push," including his grandson, John Pleasants.

"It came to light a few years ago that he was in D-Day and that he flew missions over England and France and he crashed his plane and the crash evidently was very very bad, " Pleasants said.

He and is co-pilot were badly injured, but Lt. Cunningham was strong enough to dig a fox hole to hide from the Germans for a few days, before escaping the hole and rushing his co-pilot to a doctor. It was Lt. Cunningham's bravery, along with thousands of other soldiers, that helped to secure a victory for the American and Allied forces.

It also secured their spots in history as heroes from the greatest generation, a generation whose actions spoke louder than words.

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