January 24th, 2011
08:23 AM ET
Washington (CNN) – It is a Washington ritual at the State of the Union address. The president honors special guests by inviting them to sit alongside the first lady in her reserved box in the House chamber.
This year the special guests will include at least one of the heroes from the tragic Tucson shooting. White House spokesman Nick Shapiro tells CNN Daniel Hernandez, the intern who assisted Rep. Gabrielle Giffords after she was shot in the Safeway parking lot, will join first lady Michelle Obama for the speech.
According to a senior White House official, Capt. Mark Kelly, husband of Rep. Giffords, was also invited but is unlikely to attend because of the Congresswoman’s ongoing treatment and rehabilitation at a Houston, Texas hospital. The rest of the guest list has not yet been announced.
Traditionally, the special guest list can include about two dozen people, ranging from guests who exemplify extreme valor and courage to those who represent the president’s political agenda.
Check out the complete story on CNN's Political Ticker.