Howard Banks, a World War II veteran, was assaulted while defending the flag he displays outside his home in Kaufman, Texas. According to reports, Banks was investigating a sound when he confronted the one or more assailants.
Banks reports that his American flag and Marine Corps colors have been vandalized in the past. When he heard a noise, Banks, who is legally blind, went to investigate. He observed a person removing his flag, and despite his limited vision, the WWII gunner decided to confront the vandal.
Reporting to local CBS DFW, he said the suspect hit him when he wasn’t looking.
“They could see me. I couldn’t see them,” Banks said. “I turned and looked in the other direction, and about then … wham! They knocked me down.”
One or more attackers fled the scene as neighbors arrived to help.
Although he was knocked down, Banks’ efforts did prevent the vandals from taking his flag down. On previous occasions, Banks says his flag was “shredded.”
A “God Bless All Police” sign in Bank’s yard did not escape unscathed, however. It was disrupted and left on the ground.
The assault left Banks with multiple bumps and bruises, but he said, “I am durable. I can take it.”
The Kaufman Police Department responded, and in a statement indicated they are searching for the person or people involved in the incident, which occurred on July 11, only one day before Banks’s 92nd birthday.
According to authorities, assaulting the elderly is a felony in Texas.
Police say Banks is an American hero. “This gentleman is a hero to our officers,” officials said. “The city’s residents should be extremely proud to have him as part of our community.”
Banks joined the Marine Corps at 18 and fought battles in Iwo Jima and other Pacific Theater locations.
Banks says he feels he should continue to defend America, even if it’s just by protecting something symbolic, like his flags.
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