Former World War II gunner Howard Banks has had enough of punks messing with his American flag.
The 92-year-old was prepared to take matters into his own hands recently when he heard someone outside his Kaufman, Texas home taking down his flag on July 10, the day before his birthday, CBS DFW reports.
It wasn’t the first time vandals have terrorized the old man. About a year ago, someone shredded his American flag and ripped up his U.S. Marine Corps flag and threw it in a ditch.
“I walked out, hanging onto the railing and stepped down,” Banks said of the most recent incident. “That must’ve startled them.”
Banks is legally blind, so he couldn’t see who was messing with the flagpole in his front yard, but whoever it was ambushed the veteran and shoved him to the ground, Fox 4 reports.
“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.”
The vandals left Banks to fend for himself and he laid on the ground with minor injuries until neighbors found him and helped him up. Banks said the culprits didn’t get to the flags, but they did trash a “God Bless All Police” sign in his yard.
Banks told police he heard more than one person running away, but could not provide a description.
“We are doing everything in our power to find the suspects that committed this cowardly assault and bring them to justice,” Kaufman Police officials said in a statement. This gentleman is a hero to our officer and they city’s residents should be extremely proud to have him as part of our community.”
Banks told Fox 4 he’d prefer to punish the punks himself.
“If there’s any way to catch them and was able to do so, I’d like to whoop them good with my crutch,” he said.
Banks said he sustained minor injuries, but it was nothing compared to the Battle of Iwo Jima.
“My knee is a little twisted. On this forearm, it’s kind of sore and rough,” he said, according to KTRK.
“I’ve still got soreness here, but I’m durable,” Banks said. “I can take it.”
The incident, he said, certainly won’t deter him from honoring the veterans and police who keep Americans safe.
“It’s the one thing I can cling to,” Banks told Fox 4. “Yet at my capacity, there’s not much I can do. But I can honor our flag.”
Banks said it’s an honor he takes very seriously.
“I try to salute my flag every morning,” he said. “I come out, hold on to my railing and salute my flag.”