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Society

Blind Veteran Attacked While Protecting Flag (Photos)

| by Michael Doherty

Police are investigating after a blind, elderly veteran was allegedly attacked while trying to protect his American flag.

Howard Banks, a 92-year-old World War II veteran, said he was attacked on July 11 after he heard someone pulling his flag down from the flagpole, reports KTVT.

"I walked out, hanging on to the railing and stepped down," Banks recalled. "That must have startled them."

"They could see me," he continued. "I couldn't see them. I turned and looked in the other direction, and about then -- wham! They knocked me down."

Banks was injured in the incident, suffering bruises and a twisted knee.

"On this forearm, it's kind of sore and rough," explained Banks. "Both of them. I've still got soreness here, but I'm durable. I can take it."

He wasn't sure whether the attacker was a man or woman since he couldn't see anybody and didn't hear a voice.

Banks says he has previously experienced problems with his American flag display; in 2016, someone ripped and shredded his American and Marine flags.

He said that despite his injuries, he wouldn't be deterred from proudly displaying his flag.

"I think we all had that same feeling, that the flag was our identity," said Banks, who displays the flag to honor veterans. "The fact that I'm getting older, and the less I can do ... At least I can still do that."

Banks was left legally blind by a flare at Iwo Jima, according to The Associated Press.

After the incident, veterans from Honor Flight Austin visited Banks at his home and gave him a free trip to Washington, D.C. to show him how grateful they were for his service in the Marines.

Another elderly veteran in Suffolk County, New York, was reportedly attacked in June by a nurse, according to WNBC.

Aretha Pickens, a 44-year-old nurse from Coram, New York, was arrested after she allegedly attacked an 83-year-old paraplegic Korean War veteran on June 22 after he told her employers that she had been late for work.

The veteran was paralyzed from the waist down after a car accident in 1975, and was reportedly confined to a stretcher.

The man was hospitalized after Pickens reportedly punched him repeatedly, fracturing his orbital bone.

Pickens was charged with second-degree assault, according to TBR News Media.

Another June attack on an elderly veteran took place in California, when a man robbed and assaulted an 86-year-old veteran in Carson, according to KABC.

A unidentified man punched Frank Hernandez in the face and stole his wallet. Hernandez was hospitalized after the incident.

Hernandez's son said he was walking alone in his neighborhood and carrying around $60 for lottery tickets.

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