Balloon Release Memorial Controversy

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(WBRE/WYOU-TV) In one community, the way a local fallen soldier is being remembered is causing controversy.

                A balloon release happened this morning which some say does more harm than good.

                Earlier today Eyewitness News Reporter Anja Whitehead spoke with the young woman — trying to honor her brother.

   “I do this for them, I do it for my brother, and the other 294 men and women from the state of Pennsylvania that gave their lives for us,” Said an emotional Kendra Lynn.  She lost her brother Staff Sgt. Steven Tudor 12 years ago in Iraq. For the past six years on Memorial Day, she has held a balloon release in his honor.

  “He loved us, he loved all of us. More than anything he just wanted to come home and be with his family and be with all of us and enjoy his retirement”

 This year Kendra has received a lot of backlash on social media against the release – while also getting hundreds of emails and dozens of calls.

  “It took one person to get that Facebook post going of how ‘balloon releases should be illegal, they aren’t honoring anybody, what goes up must come down, and it kills animals, and I’m unpatriotic’, and just really bad things.

 Kendra tells eyewitness news, she wants Memorial Day to be about those who have fallen.

  “I still never knew what Memorial Day was until my brother was killed. And I will never ever think of it as a day off of work again.”

Despite all of the backlash she has received, the community is on her side.

  “For them to pick on somebody like this and try to shut this down for a memorial for the fallen that have given their lives for us, I just think it’s wrong,” Said Jeff Whitney, Scranton.

  “There’s many things we could be doing to take care of things and keep them clean. A little balloon falling or traveling somewhere is not the end of the world. Honor our fallen” Added Ryan Kester, Scranton.

Kendra Lynn says she plans to do the release again next year.


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