A 92-year-old World War II veteran who was assaulted by several people trying to vandalize his American and Marine Corps flags outside his Texas home was surprised with an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., courtesy of a group of U.S. Marines.
Veteran Howard Banks said he heard noises outside his Dallas-area home earlier this month and went outside to see what it was, Fox 4 reported.
Banks confronted vandals who were trying to shred his flags outside his home. Banks, who was left legally blinded by a flare on Iwo Jima, was shoved to the ground by the vandals, who then ran away.
“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,” he told Fox 4. “Once a Marine, always a Marine. I try to live that way.”
After hearing his story, Marines who toured in Afghanistan and Iraq decided to meet with Banks.
On Sunday, the Marines from Honor Flight Austin offered Banks an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., to see the National World War II Memorial.
Honor Flight is a nonprofit organization that helps transport veterans to Washington, D.C., to visit memorials dedicated to honor their service and sacrifices.
“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,” Honor Flight Austin Director Kory Ryan told Fox 4.
“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 Marine corporal with the Blinded American Veterans Foundation.