PFC Leslie Palmer Cruise Jr. was buried on Saturday at Whitemarsh Memorial Park and Cemetery in Ambler with a flyover tribute by the plane he jumped from on D-Day into Normandy, France, writes Valerie Russ for The Philadelphia Inquirer.
When he jumped out of the plane that is now owned by the National Warplane Museum in Geneseo, N.Y., Cruise had just turned 20.
“In the hours after his [Cruise’s] harrowing drop, he was .part of the 21-man squadron that liberated the first town in France, Sainte-Mère-Église,” said Dawn Worboys, a spokesperson for the National Warplane Museum.
Cruise, who grew up in a Philadelphia orphanage, and his wife, Shirley, died in January, six days apart, from a COVID-19-related illness at their Horsham home. They were 97 and 98, respectively.
The flyover of the twin-propeller Douglas C-47A aircraft elicited an emotional response from the funeral attendees, especially Rev. Rick Tyson, retired pastor of Calvary Presbyterian Church.
“I was very moved,” Tyson said. “After all that he had been through, growing up in an orphanage, and getting injured in the war…”
Read more about Leslie Palmer Cruise Jr. in The Philadelphia Inquirer.