WASHINGTON – Carol and Peter McKenna, the parents of U.S. Army Special Forces 1st Sgt. P. Andrew McKenna Jr., who was killed in Afghanistan last summer, will attend the State of the Union Address as the guests of U.S. Congressman David N. Cicilline (D-RI).
“We are honored to be attending the State of the Union next week as Congressman Cicilline’s guests,” said the McKennas, who live in Bristol. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
Last August, Sgt. McKenna was killed during a Taliban attack on Camp Integrity – a NATO facility in Kabul, Afghanistan. Sgt. McKenna was buried with full military honors at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Bristol. During his funeral procession, hundreds of Rhode Islanders lined roadways to honor Sgt. McKenna’s life and service to the United States.
An Army Green Beret, Sgt. McKenna joined the military one month after graduating Mount Hope High School in 1998. Over 17 years of active service, he completed five tours in Afghanistan and one in Iraq and was decorated with numerous awards, including the Bronze Star with V device and the Meritorious Service Medal. McKenna graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in strategic studies from Norwich University in 2015. He was planning to pursue a master’s degree once his deployment ended in October.
One month prior to his death, Sgt. McKenna returned home to the East Bay, where he was recognized during the Bristol Fourth of July Parade. Cicilline, who attended the parade and thanked Sgt. McKenna for his service, said, “Andrew McKenna was a true hero who embodied the very best of Rhode Island values. His patriotism, loyalty, and sense of shared purpose were reflections of his strong character and the values he learned growing up in Bristol. I am deeply honored that his parents, Carol and Peter, will join me in Washington next week to attend the State of the Union.”
Cicilline, who is serving his third term in Congress, has been a strong advocate for Rhode Island veterans and their families. Last year, he co-sponsored the bipartisan Improving Veterans Access to Quality Care Act (H.R. 1247) to enhance the quality of health care options available to veterans, as well as the Putting Our Veterans Back to Work Act (H.R. 366) to extend workforce and vocational training opportunities for veterans. Last month, Cicilline spent Christmas visiting with soldiers serving in Iraq.
Tuesday, January 12th, will mark President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union Address. The President is expected to outline a policy agenda for his final year in office. Each year, Members of Congress receive one ticket for a guest to attend the State of the Union. Cicilline was able to invite both McKenna parents after Congressman Collin Peterson (D-MN) donated his ticket.