Blind WWII veteran who was assaulted in July returns from D.C.

A World War II veteran who was shoved down in his front yard in Kaufman while defending his American Flag received a special honor over the weekend.

Howard Banks came back a little tired, but it was well worth it to him and his family. He returned to Texas Saturday Night from an Honor Flight to Washington D.C.

“Hundreds and hundreds came up, shook my hand, patted me on the back, and it was so very nice of everybody involved to send me on that trip,” Banks told FOX 4.

There is no one more moved by the World War II memorial than a World War II veteran, himself. Saturday, at the monument in Washington D.C., a dozen WWII veterans were saluted.

Banks was blinded by a flare during the Battle of Iwo Jima when he was 20. More than 70 years later, he was a victim of a crime at his home.

Vandals tore down the American flag flying over his home in July. Banks says he went outside when he heard the noise, and was knocked to the ground by a group of guys he couldn't see. They left his U.S. Marine Corps flag untouched, but threw his "God Bless All Police" sign across the yard.

Fellow Marine Kory Ryan, with Honor Flights out of Austin, heard his story on FOX 4.

"He's a national treasure. People should be lined up on his porch to talk to him, not ripping his flags down," he said.

Ryan surprised Banks with the news in July that he would be going on an Honor Flight to Washington D.C. On the trip this weekend, Banks got an even greater surprise; sand from Iwo Jima.

Banks and other veterans of World War II, Vietnam and Korea got to tour Arlington Cemetery, but the most emotional moment for Banks came when he got his one request for the trip, to meet another World War II Marine.

Banks tells FOX 4 World War II veterans are a dying breed, but he's still here and so is his flag, a new flag, flying over his home in Kaufman.

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