Two fallen RI soldiers honored in Garden of Heroes remembrance ceremony
Two fallen Rhode Island soldiers were remembered Saturday at a ceremony in the Garden of Heroes outside the State House in Providence.
Lieutenant Governor Daniel McKee was joined Saturday morning by Governor Gina Raimondo, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, General Treasurer Seth Magaziner and Brigadier General Christopher Callahan, Adjutant General of Rhode Island and Commanding General of the Rhode Island National Guard for a remembrance ceremony in the Garden of Heroes to honor First Sergeant P. Andrew McKenna Jr. and Staff Sergeant Timothy Raymond McGill.
Local officials were joined by Rhode Island Gold Star families and Kasim Yarn, Director of Veterans Affairs to observe the unveiling of the Garden’s Memorial Monument. First Sergeant McKenna and Staff Sergeant McGill’s names were carved into the monument alongside the names of 27 Rhode Islanders who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country since September 11, 2001.
“Today we take a moment to reflect on the courage and commitment of First Sergeant McKenna and Staff Sergeant McGill, two brave men who gave their lives to protect our freedom,” said Lt. Governor McKee. “Our thoughts and hearts are with their families and loved ones. Rhode Island is forever grateful for the service of these two men who are truly American heroes.”
“For the families and friends of Tim and Andrew, I know that no words can ever fill the void that their loss has left, but Rhode Island will never forget them,” Governor Raimondo said. “Today, we come together to honor these two heroes. We will always be thankful for their service to our nation and to our state.”
“As we express our gratitude to our two fallen heroes today, we must never forget their sacrifice and that of their families,” said Director Yarn. “But we must also be sure that our children never forget; for the highest appreciation we can bestow upon these Gold Star Families is to live life as their loved ones did, with honor, courage, and selfless service to our nation.”
First Sergeant McKenna (1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group, Airborne) was a native Bristol Rhode Islander and a 17 year Army veteran who served numerous tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. He passed away on August 7, 2015 in Kabul Afghanistan of wounds received from small arms fire while fighting to defend a joint U.S/NATO camp. He is survived by his parents Peter and Carol McKenna of Bristol, Rhode Island and Daughter Rebecca Yanosik of Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Staff Sergeant McGill (A Company, 2nd Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group, Airborne) was a native of Ramsey, New Jersey who served bravely with the Rhode Island National Guard. He passed away on September 21, 2013 after receiving wounds from small arms fire in Gardez, Paktia Province, Afghanistan while deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Staff Sergeant McGill is survived by his mother, Carol McGill and sisters Megan McGill and Lindsey Vanderbeek.
The Garden, located on the southwest lawn of the State House, was officially dedicated in 2005 under former Lt. Governor Charles Fogarty. Lt. Governor McKee has pledged his commitment and support to the Garden’s continued care in honor of Rhode Island’s fallen heroes.