Medal of Honor winner turns down invite to State of the Union

Former Army staff sergeant Clint Romesha, who was awarded the Medal of Honor at the White House on Monday, has declined the first lady's invitation to sit in her box on Tuesday night during the State of the Union address.


Clint Romesha told CNN he will watch the speech with friends from his former unit and his wife.

"I've done some soul searching," he said. "As much as a great honor it would be to be a guest of the first lady, it's also kind of hard to break away from the friends and the family and all the great guys here."

The White House released the full guest list for Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaMichelle Obama releases her voting playlist Obama to young voters: Create 'a new normal in America' by voting for Biden Obama hits trail to help Biden, protect legacy MORE's box on Tuesday afternoon. Guests of the first lady are often pointed out by the president in his remarks.

They include a teacher from Sandy Hook Elementary School, military veterans, and a 102-year-old woman who waited three hours to vote:

Kaitlin Roig is a first grade teacher at Sandy Hook, the school in Newton, Conn., where 20 students were shot and killed. 

Police Lt. Brian Murphy of Oak Creek, Wis., was the first to arrive at the scene during August's Sikh temple shooting. He took 15 bullets when he confronted the shooter.

Sergeant Carlos Evans lost both legs and his left hand in Afghanistan. He met the first lady at Walter Reed Medical Center and later toured the White House, where President Obama signed his prosthetic arm. 

Desiline Victor of Miami is a 102-year-old woman who was told on Election Day that wait times were six hours. After she waited three hours, poll workers had her come back at a later time and she cast her ballot.

College student Alan Aleman, is an illegal immigrant who used the administration's Deferred Action for undocumented youth to go to school.

Also in the first lady's box are registered nurse Menchu de Luna Sanchez of New Jersey, who helped care for at-risk infants during Hurricane Sandy; iTriage founder Peter Hudson; Military Partners and Families Coalition founder Tracey Hepner; Gov. John Kitzhaber (D-Ore.); Avondale, Ariz., Mayor Marie Loez Rogers, the city's first Latino mayor; #My2K participant Lisa Richards; Abby Schanfield of Minneapolis, a beneficiary of the Affordable Care Act; and 12-year-old Let's Move! champion Haile Thomas.

Other guests, who were previously announced, include Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton and Nathaniel Pendleton, the parents of 15-year-old Chicago shooting victim Hadiya Pendleton, and Apple CEO Tim Cook.