Mother of fallen soldier grieves on Fourth of July

First Sgt. P. Andrew McKenna, U.S. Army Special Forces

“He really was an incredible young man,” said Carol McKenna, as she remembered her son who died while serving in Afghanistan.

Bristol's First Sgt. Peter Andrew McKenna, Jr. was killed in Kabul, Afghanistan Aug. 7, 2015.

“We had some insurgents attack the front gate. They hit the front gate with a vehicle born IED,” said George E. Vera, who was with McKenna at the time.

“He went back. There was an attack on the base -- and he wasn't one to hold back,” said Carol.

To honor his sacrifice, U.S. senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse asked to re-name the Bristol Post Office on Hope Street in his name. The bill is now on President Donald Trump's desk, and the name change could come very soon.

“It's going to be a bit of surprise walking by there, seeing his name and his picture,” said Carol.

Carol said the Fourth of July isn’t easy to celebrate, as her son is no longer alive.

“It's an honor, but it's really hard,” said Carol McKenna.

McKenna was 35 years old when he was killed. The life-long Bristol resident was decorated service man, with at least 17 military awards in his name. Five of those are Bronze Stars, and he was awarded a Purple Heart posthumously.

McKenna also served 17 years in the military, with six deployments.

“He decided at five years old he wanted to be in the army, and at seven, in the special forces,” said Carol. “I'd give all of this up in a heartbeat (to) have him back, but, you know, he did what he loved. And how can you tell him, you can't do that?”

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