World War II veteran battling cancer will receive Purple Heart, officials say

December 06, 2018

A U.S. Army veteran from Manchester who never received a Purple Heart after being injured during World War II will finally be recognized for his service and sacrifice.

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen announced Thursday that Cpl. Francis Byrne will finally be awarded a Purple Heart. Her office has been working on his application since August.

He fought in the Battle of the Bulge and was injured in the line of duty in Belgium when he was hit by shrapnel from a landmine.

His lieutenant had promised to fill out the paperwork for Byrne to receive a Purple Heart, but he was killed in action the next day.

Byrne has lived with a sharp pain in his leg ever since his injury.

He was diagnosed with terminal bladder cancer two months ago, and his dying wish was to receive the award before he dies.

“It would mean everything, because I don't know how long I have to live,” he said.

A spokesperson for Shaheen said her office has been relentlessly advocating for Byrne to receive the award.

Following a phone call Wednesday with Secretary of the Army Mark Esper, Shaheen called Byrne and his family to share the good news.

“Francis Byrne is an American hero and I’m so thrilled that he will finally receive his Purple Heart for his incredible sacrifice and service,” Shaheen said. "I’m very grateful to Secretary Esper and his staff for working closely with my office to make this happen. I’m now working with the Secretary and his staff to arrange expedited delivery of this award to Mr. Byrne in Manchester. This Purple Heart is invaluable to Mr. Byrne and his family, and I so look forward to seeing him presented with it in the near future.”

By:  Christine DeLong Wheeler
Source: WMUR