A crowd of more than 200 people attended a ceremony on a hot morning this past Saturday to honor their fallen friend and family member, Sgt. William McKenna, an Iraqi War veteran who lost his battle with lymphoma in December 2010.
"Today is a day of celebration," said Legislator Wayne Horsley (D–Babylon, Lindenhurst). "Today, we have the privilege of honoring a real hometown hero."
McKenna's wife, Dina, and daughters, Caitlin and Sabrina, were in attendance and with the help of Horsley, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, Congressman Tim Bishop and Town of Babylon Supervisor Rich Schaffer, helped unveil a new sign in front of West Babylon High School dedicating the portion there of Great East Neck Road as "Sgt. William B. McKenna Avenue."
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"Today says to me that he will never ever be forgotten," said Executive Bellone.
"Everyone is going to see his name up there, wonder who he was, Google him and find out just the kind of person he was," said Dina. "It means a lot to me to have that sign up there."
McKenna died in December 2010 after a battle with lymphoma brought on by repeated inhalation of toxins in burn pits in Iraq. McKenna began serving in the military shortly after the September 11th, 2001 attacks and had completed two tours of duty in Iraq before being diagnosed. He spoke before Congress about the toxins released by these burn pits, which contained waste, munitions, tires and other items.