BRISTOL, R.I. (WPRI) — After a February proposal, it’s become a reality: part of Route 114 in Bristol has been named in honor of 1st Sergeant P. Andrew McKenna. The U.S. Army Special Forces soldier was killed in Kabul, Afghanistan last August in a suicide bombing.
Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo signed a bill into law Friday naming the stretch of Rt. 114 between the Mount Hope and Warren bridges “The 1st Sergeant P. Andrew McKenna Memorial Highway.” The bill signing took place at the Rhode Island Veterans Home in Bristol.
Sen. Walter Felag and Rep. Jan Malik sponsored Senate and House bills to name the road. Both bills passed this week. Both men attended the bill signing Friday, alongside Sen. Jack Reed, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, and Rep. Jim Langevin.
“Naming this memorial highway is a way for Rhode Islanders to recognize and remember this American hero,” Gov. Raimondo said in a news release ahead of the signing.
McKenna’s parents stood behind the governor as she applied her signature to the bill.
“He was just a great kid,” said his mom, Carol. “As I always told both of my sons, I loved them because they were my sons, but I liked them because they were good human beings.”
“It was obvious to me he was a solider when I met him in Afghanistan,” added Sen. Reed. “You could see his commanders and his comrades – the appreciation, the respect, the admiration was evident.”
McKenna was laid to rest in his hometown of Bristol, where everyone driving down the state highway will now see a sign in his honor and remember him.
“I’ll probably be in tears every time I drive down 114,” said Carol McKenna.
Officials said the sign will be erected on Route 114 right away.