Frank Roman returns to Normandy, despite accident - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Frank Roman returns to Normandy, despite accident

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

70 years ago, on D-Day, Frank Roman was in the turret of a bomber, flying above the beaches of Normandy, France.

"He was the air support," his daughter, Bernice Roman, said. "He was a left wing gunner."

Roman served as a Sergeant in the Army Air Corps. After the war, the Cedar Rapids native came home, and met his wife, Jean. They always planned to go back, and see the country Frank fought so hard to liberate.

"It was just a lot of hurt and a lot of pain," Bernice said. "He's never been able to talk about it."

Unfortunately, life got in the way. Jean was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, and died of the complications.

Frank is now 90, and in May, he got his chance.

But the day before his visit to the beaches, Frank fell and broke his hip. He was in the hospital for weeks.

He'd come so close.

"Then, the day before he flew home, the group's nurse arranged for him to see Omaha beach," Roman said.

Frank finally saw the beach, from the back of an ambulance.

"I think to see it all fixed up and restored -- because I understand it was actually a horrible bombed-out mess and it was pretty much destroyed -- it's wonderful," Roman said.

But this wasn't the first time Frank got some help from the French.

Later in World War II, his bomber was shot down.

"They landed someplace in France, and the French Underground brought him out to safety," Roman said. "It's just like irony that the French people are taking care of him again."

Frank Roman returned to Cedar Rapids this week, where he will recover from his trip and start hip therapy.

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