Members of the Patriot Guard Riders held flags during a ceremony dedicating John J. McKenna IV Way in Clifton Park on Sunday, April 15.
Photo by Julie Cushine-Rigg.
continued McKenna’s father, John McKenna III, spoke to the crowd and relayed his son’s sense of humor and commitment to serving others. He said their neighborhood back in Brooklyn was like “one big extended family.”
“John took that sense of community with him when he joined the Boy Scouts, where the beginnings of his sense of leadership skills and leading men began to develop. …All along the way, the thing that John (did) most was helping the community very much like all our first responders do today,” said McKenna.
McKenna wanted everybody to try to keep his son’s spirit alive, especially his spirit of enthusiasm and love of his country and his companions. He also told of a story when John was a teenager and his gym teacher wanted him to become a student athlete. Instead, he wanted to become a scholar warrior. As a result, he was dubbed Conan the Librarian.
Capt. McKenna expressed concern to his parents via phone calls from Iraq about what would happen if one of his men went down. The fallen man he attempted to help, Michael Glover, was one of his brothers, and his father said that’s why he helped him – not to be a hero.
“They had a different last name but they shared that one name –Marine. So we remember John, not because he was killed, or for the way he was killed. We think about him for the way he lived his life. A life full of joy, spirit, love of country, love for his fellow man. …. I believe John and all of the other first responders…their spirits are standing with us side by side just a breath away as we try to make this world a better place. Think of John in your prayers,” said McKenna.
This is not the first honor bestowed of McKenna. There is also a room at Albany International Airport dedicated to McKenna’s memory. The Captain John J. McKenna Courtesy Room is available to all active and veteran military as a place to relax, watch television or play video games.