The American flag has proudly been flown as a symbol of freedom and prosperity since well before any of us was born.
There’s a reason we’re taught to always respect the flag, and it goes far beyond simply acknowledging the pretty patterns on a piece of fabric.
The US flag means something, stands for something, and for generations it has been touted as a bastion of hope for the countless souls who have looked upon it.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I feel we’re perilously close to losing the centuries-old respect and ingrained pride we have in Old Glory. Sure, there are those who continue to champion its importance, who show it the reverence it deserves and demands, but I can’t shake the feeling that those people are, sadly, a dying breed.
Howard Banks, a 92-year-old World War II veteran, might not be in the best condition of his life, but he knows a thing or two about defending the flag and all it stands for.
Legally blinded by a flare during service to his country, Howard is resident of Kaufman, Texas, and proudly flies the flag outside his door.
Sadly, that has made him a target over the years. The fact that this brave man wants to fly the American and Marine Corps flags outside his home just hasn’t sat right with some people.
According to reports, Banks was at home one day when he heard what sounded like someone trying to rip down his flag. He headed for the front door in the knowledge that this wasn’t the first time his property, and his flags, had been targeted.
The trespassers in question likely saw Howard and assumed him an easy target. After all, he’s now an old man, what sort of fight could he put up?
They assumed wrong.
“I walked out, hanging onto the railing and stepped down. That must’ve startled them,” Howard recalled.
“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.”
Howard was injured in the ensuing chaos, but he was ultimately successful in defending the flag. The thugs who were trying to take it were forced to flee in panic, though they ripped down Howard’s “God Bless All Police” sign and threw it across his yard before they had scurried away.
Howard suffered a twisted knee during the attack, and was also covered in bruises. Yet he’s a man of tough resolve, one who enlisted in the military at the age of 18 and saw action in the Pacific Theater during World War II. He even fought in the battle of Iwo Jima.
“I’m durable. I can take it,” he said of the injuries dealt by the thugs who hit him while trying to steal the flag.
Howard explained how he salutes the flag – which he has had since his serving days – every day.
“It’s the one thing I can cling to,” he explained. “Yet at my capacity, there’s not much I can do. But I can honor our flag.”
The Kaufman Police Department, meanwhile, promised to bring the assailants to justice.
“We are doing everything in our power to find the suspects that committed this cowardly assault and bring them to justice,” they said in a statement.
“This gentleman is a hero to our officers and the city’s residents should be extremely proud to have him as part of our community.”
After the latest attempt on his property, Howard’s family have placed cameras around his residence. What’s more, the veteran himself has a warning for any who would try and disrespect what is his.
“If there’s any way to catch them and I was able to do so, I’d like to whoop them good with my crutch,” he said.
I don’t know where people get off trying to destroy the possessions of other people, let alone attempting to pull down or damage the US flag.
What do you think about the worrying trend of people disrespecting the flag? Let us know your thoughts in the comments box.
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