By Debbie Gregory.

A 92-year-old World War II veteran was injured by a vandal as he protecting the American flag outside his home.

But this story has a happy ending.

Following the incident in which Howard Banks was pushed to the ground, resulting in several bumps, bruises, and a twisted knee, he received a visit from 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.

The vandal who was either trying to steal or destroy the American flag and the Marine Corps flag on display ran off while neighbors rushed in to help the veteran, who was left legally blind by a flare on Iwo Jima.

Honor Flight Network is a non-profit organization that honors America’s veterans for all their sacrifices. They transport these heroes to Washington, D.C. to visit and reflect at their memorials.

Top priority is given to the senior veterans, World War II survivors, along with those other veterans who may be terminally ill.

“This guy is living history,” said Honor Flight Austin Director Kory Ryan. “He’s a national treasure. People should be lined up on his porch to talk to him, not ripping his flags down.”

“I think we all had that same feeling, that the flag was our identity. We were Americans,” said Banks. “The fact that I’m getting older, and the less I can do… at least I can still do that.”

Banks’s daughter, friends and neighbors will be keeping an eye on him so that they can help him maintain his monument to the country he served and the Marine Corps, without putting himself in harm’s way.

MilitaryConnection.com is honored to work with Honor Flight Network, as well as numerous other wonderful non-profits that serve military, veterans and their families.

We salute veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.