SCRANTON, Pa. — Every Memorial Day, Kendra Lynn is taken back to the moment on a late April morning in 2007 when she received the call that her brother, Army Staff Sgt. Steven Tudor, was killed in Iraq.
"And she said, 'Kendra, you need to call Shane,' which is my husband. And I'm like, 'Just don't tell me.' I don't even remember her telling me. But we just knew."
Tudor graduated from Dunmore High School in 1989 and immediately joined the army. At 17 years old, he was deployed to Iraq as part of Operation Desert Storm.
It was on his third tour there, two months before he was set to retire from the military when he was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade.
"They picked him up, put him in a helicopter, and gave him something to keep him comfortable, and then he passed away on the way to Baghdad," said Lynn.
Kendra says she takes pride in the fact that her brother died serving his country, protecting the freedom of people who will never know his name. That's why she has one simple request for everyone planning to spend the holiday weekend at cook-outs and beaches.
"That's OK to do, it is OK, but while you're doing that, just remember why you're doing it. They did this for you, so while you're going out and having your picnic and celebrating, which is great, just remember them. Give them a little toast; just say thank you."
Kendra says she wishes she didn't have to lose a family member to understand the significance of Memorial Day.
A Gold Star is an honor no family wants, but one she embraces and uses to honor others whose families wear the same badge.