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Watch This Veteran Fly in the Same WWII Plane He Jumped from on D-Day

At 92 years old, World War II paratrooper Les Cruise is one of the last surviving veterans who parachuted into Normandy on D-Day. His bravery on that fateful day in history helped contribute to the liberation of France and the ending of the war in Europe. However, Cruise’s remarkable life story is not just one of heroism, but family. Abandoned at age 7 and raised in an orphanage, he forged a close brotherhood with his fellow soldiers in the 82nd Airborne Division. Nicknamed the “All Americans,” Cruise saw many of his friends killed in battle before being wounded himself and earning a Purple Heart. Today, Cruise returns to fly once again in the same WWII plane he jumped out of 72 years ago. Surrounded by his loving wife and family, this American hero reflects on a life full of family and blessings in this short film by 7 Wonders Cinema.

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The Long Road Home is an incredible true story about soldiers at war and the families they leave behind. Tune in Tuesdays at 10/9c on National Geographic.

The Short Film Showcase spotlights exceptional short videos created by filmmakers from around the world and selected by National Geographic editors. We look for work that affirms National Geographic's belief in the power of science, exploration, and storytelling to change the world. To submit a film for consideration, please email The filmmakers created the content presented, and the opinions expressed are their own, not those of National Geographic Partners.