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Soldier in Army Jacket Beaten Attending Philadelphia Parade

Veteran News
Veteran News
January 6, 2017
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Philadelphia's annual Mummers parade was supposed to be a nice way for Austin Freni to spend time with his family over the holidays. Instead, it ended in a brutal attack because he was wearing his Army jacket.Austin's mother, Lauri, told FOX 29 about the attack:"Group of 10-15 guys walked by me (making) derogatory comments towards Austin's Army jacket. Me and his girlfriend tried pulling them off and they hit us. We got hit in the face. She got thrown in the street," she explained."Right before the incident occurred, they made remarks about my army jacket I was wearing, 'You're in the army big tough guy' 'The army is filled with nothing but pussies,' those are some comments that were thrown," Austin told us. He doesn't remember much after those comments, as he sustained a concussion during the fight.Despite his injuries, he's feeling alright. "The surgery went really well, originally I was supposed to be wired shut but the doctors did away with it. I'm expected to make a full recovery in 7-8 weeks. A little pain but nothing an infantryman can't handle."Austin has served for about 7 months in the Army in the Infantry. He had just recently graduated from airborne school and hopes to join an airborne unit. The Army has been very encouraging to him after the attack.

"They are being a big support telling me they want me back 100% ready to go and to take it easy, especially all the veterans that have been messaging me full of support; they've been a huge help in all of this along with everyone else that is keeping me and my family in their prayers," he saidAustin's homecoming from Ft. Benning, Georgia came as a surprise. A stranger had set up a GoFundMe page after learning that his mother was struggling to raise the money needed for the flight home for the holidays. The family never expected that his return would result in a hospital stay. But despite the horrible circumstances, there is hope that those that perpetrated the attacks will be brought to justice."Well there is blood on my shoe and on my brother's jacket, and my mom managed to grab a baseball cap from one of the kids so Philadelphia detectives said they would swab it and hope maybe a match came up... Besides that, I have no idea who they are," Austin said.

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