Members of two Gold Star families say they were assaulted, spit on, and had obscenities screamed at them by protesters as they attempted to get inside Friday’s inaugural ball honoring military service members.
Amy Looney, who lost her husband Navy SEAL Lt. Brendan Looney in Afghanistan in 2010, and Ryan Manion, whose brother Marine First Lt. Travis Manion died in Iraq in 2007, said that they were assaulted by protesters in downtown Washington D.C. prior to the event.
“These people had such hatred in their eyes when they screamed at us,” Ryan Manion said in a statement. “We were told that we ruined this country and that we should get a job.”
The two women, who run the Travis Manion Foundation together, said on “Fox and Friends” that as they tried to enter the Renaissance Washington D.C. Hotel where the American Legion was hosting a tribute to Medal of Honor recipients at their Veterans Inaugural Ball, there were around 75 protesters outside the entrance.
“Unfortunately, as we got there we found ourselves separated from the rest of the group walking to the galas that night and were caught in between the entrance to the event and about 75 protesters that got very angry with us and really converged on us,” Manion said.
Manion wrote in The Philadelphia Inquirer that their clothes were drawn on by protesters and they were called vile names upon entering and exiting the venue.
“We understand more than most how fortunate we are to live in a country where we can demonstrate and share our different beliefs,” Manion wrote. “But my question for those who chose to take this route Friday is this: Are you truly accomplishing anything by inciting hate?”
“The people who assaulted us are not protesters; they are not exercising their rights with the goal of making our country a better place.” Amy Looney said in a statement. “Friday night was one of the ugliest experiences that I have seen.
“But today we are reinvigorated to continue our mission to redefine America’s national character. We must establish unity and we, as Americans, must do better,” she added.