Marines gifted a blind World War II veteran with a trip to Washington, D.C. on Sunday after he was assaulted by a group attempting to vandalize flags hung outside of his Texas home.
When 92-year-old Howard Banks heard noises around the flagpole in front of his home earlier this month, he went outside to see what was going on. A vandal pushed Banks to the ground, then quickly fled the scene, according to FOX 4 News
The veteran could not give a description of the assailants because he was blinded at age 20 by a flare in Iwo Jima.
“We’ve honored our flag all that time and doggone it, with our political climate the way that it is, we need something to rally around and that’s our flag,” Banks told FOX 4.
When Marines that had served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan were informed of Banks’ story, they took initiative to meet the veteran.
“You know, first, you start messing with the American flag, I get real hot under the collar. And then, when I found out that they yanked the Marine Corps flag down, that made my bottom spicy,” Michael Jernigan, a corporal in the Marines and member of the Blinded American Veterans Foundation, told FOX 4.
The marines gifted Banks with an Honor Flight, conducted by a non-profit organization whose mission is to “transport America’s Veterans to Washington, DC to visit those memorials dedicated to honor the service and sacrifices of themselves and their friends.”
“It’s a shame. You know, this guy is living history. He’s a national treasure,” Kory Ryan, an employee of Honor Flight Austin, told FOX 4. “People should be lined up on his porch to talk to him, not ripping his flags down.”
While Banks has installed cameras to protect his home, the attackers will not stop him from proudly displaying his flags.
“Once, a Marine, always a Marine,” he said.
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