Marines who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, outraged at the assault of a 92-year-old World War II (WWII) veteran from Texas defending his country’s flag, are coming together to ensure he gets the respect he deserves.
Several Marines surprised 92-year-old Howard Baker on Sunday. He had been assaulted for defending his U.S. and Marine Corps. flags from vandalism and received an all expenses paid Honor Flight trip to Washington, DC, from his visitors, KDFW reports.
Baker, who is legally blind, heard a noise coming from the flagpole outside his house and became aware that vandals were trying to take down his American flag.
The veteran, who has had his flags vandalized before, decided to protect his flags when the attackers knocked him to the ground. By the time he came to his senses, the attackers had made a clean getaway.
The incident took place on Baker’s 92nd birthday.
“You know, first, you start messing with the American flag, I get real hot under the collar. And then, when I found out that they yanked the Marine Corps flag down, that made my bottom spicy,” said Michael Jernigan, a U.S. Marine Corporal who works with the Blinded American Veterans Foundation.
“It’s a shame. You know, this guy is living history. He’s a national treasure. People should be lined up on his porch to talk to him, not ripping his flags down,” said Kory Ryan with Honor Flight Austin.
The Marines swapped stories with Baker and gave him the opportunity to see the World War II Memorial in D.C. with Honor Flight.
“Once a Marine, always a Marine. I try to live that way,” said Banks.
Banks joined the Marines when he was 18 to fight against Japan in WWII. He lost his sight fighting in Iwo Jima at age 20.
The Kaufman, Texas, police are investigating the incident.