Howard Banks is 92 years old and legally blind, but that didn’t stop him from confronting an invader who tried to pull down the American flag outside his Kaufman, Texas, home.
On the day before his birthday, July 11, the World War II veteran heard someone outside trying to pull down the American flag from the pole on his front lawn. He went outside to find out what was going on.
“I walked out, hanging onto the railing, and stepped down. That must’ve startled them,” Banks told KTVT.
According to Banks, last year someone shredded his American flag and ripped his marine flag. The marine was not going to let that happen again.
“They could see me. I couldn’t see them. I turned and looked in the other direction, and about then – wham! One of them knocked me down,” Banks said.
The assailant fled. Neighbors rushed to his help.
Although he twisted his knee and had bumps and bruises, Banks said that won’t stop him from standing up to honor veterans who sacrificed and served the United States.
“I think we all had that same feeling, that that flag was our identity. We were Americans,” he said. “The fact that I’m getting older, and the less I can do, at least I can still do that.”
Banks was blinded by a flare in Iwo Jima when he was 20 years old, according to Fox4News.
Banks has no idea who the attacker was. His friends and neighbors are now jeeping an eye out for him and his flags.
Fellow marines who heard Banks’ story traveled there to meet him.
“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,” said Michael Jernigan, a Corporal in the U.S. Marines and with the Blinded American Veterans Foundation.
On Sunday, the marines flew Banks to DC to visit the World War II memorial.
“It’s a shame. You know, this guy is living history. He’s a national treasure. People should be lined up on his porch to talk to him, not ripping his flags down,” said Kory Ryan with Honor Flight Austin.