- The Washington Times - Monday, July 24, 2017

A 92-year-old World War II veteran who was assaulted while trying to protect his American and Marine Corps flags outside his Texas home was surprised Sunday with an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C.

After hearing noises outside his Dallas-area home earlier this month, Howard Banks said he went outside and confronted someone trying to steal or damage his flags. Mr. Banks, who was left legally blind by a flare on Iwo Jima, said he was shoved to the ground before the vandals ran off, the Associated Press reported.

Kaufman police are investigating.

“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,” Mr. Banks told a local Fox affiliate. “Once a Marine, always a Marine. I try to live that way.”

Mr. Banks, whose flags have been damaged by vandals before, said he now has surveillance cameras on his home.

On Sunday, he was paid a visit by fellow Marine veterans from Honor Flight Austin, who offered him a free trip to Washington, D.C. to see the National World War II Memorial.

“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 Marine corporal with the Blinded American Veterans Foundation, told Fox.

“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,” added Honor Flight Austin Director Kory Ryan.

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