Howard Banks is a veteran of World War 2.
He’s also 92-years-old and legally blind. He lost his sight during the war in Iwo Jima when he was blinded by a flare. When he heard a vandal attempting to destroy the American flags waving outside his Dallas home, he sprung into action.
Not being able to see proved difficult for Banks as he confronted the vandal. He was pushed to the ground by the unknown assailant, and they ran free.
Banks describes the encounter.
Banks spoke to CNN affiliate KTVT in Dallas-Fort Worth about the incident.
“I walked out, hanging onto the railing and stepped down,” Banks said. “They could see me. I couldn’t see them. I turned and looked in the other direction, and about then – ‘wham!’ They knocked me down.”
The fall left him with a twisted knee and some bruising.
Banks also noted that this is not the first time vandals have attempted to vandalize his American flag.
The former Marine told local Dallas news that he feels given the current political climate in the country, people should rally behind a symbol that unites us.
“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 said.
Banks has always tried to show off his patriotism. He’s not going to stop flying his flag anytime soon.
“Once a Marine, always a Marine. I try to live that way,” he continued.
Banks would continue to say that as he gets older, flying the flag is something he is proud he can still do.
“I think we all had that same feeling, that the flag was our identity. We were Americans,” he said to media. “The fact that I’m getting older, and the less I can do … at least I can still do that.”
Banks was given a nice surprise.
The police launched an investigation into the incident but no arrests have been made. The media picked up on the story as well but Banks also drew the attention of his fellow veterans and his fellow former Marines.
Banks was contacted by the Marines and offered a free flight to Washington, D.C to visit the World War 2 Memorial.
“You know, first, you start messing with the American flag, I get real hot under the collar,” said Michael Jernigan, a Marine corporal working with the Blinded American Veterans Foundation. “And then, when I found out that they yanked the Marine Corps flag down, that made my bottom spicy.”
“This guy is living history. He’s a national treasure,” Honor Flight Director Kory Ryan agreed. “People should be lined up on his porch to talk to him, not ripping his flags down.”
The Blinded American Veterans Foundation
Since 1985, the Blinded American Veterans Foundation has been assisting people like Banks. They provide funding for rehabilitation centers, help with re-employment for veterans, and offer resource counseling.
The organization was launched by 3 veterans who had all lost their sight in either the Korean or Vietnam War.
You can learn more about Howard Banks’ story in the video below.
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