Monday, February 2, 2015

That Such Men Lived: Chris Kyle Day

Last Friday, while speaking at the Texans Veterans of Foreign Affairs Convention, Governor Greg Abbott declared February 2, 2015 Chris Kyle Day in honor of one of the most decorated snipers in American history.
“In honor of a Texas son, a Navy SEAL and an American hero—a man who defended his brothers and sisters in arms on and off the battlefield—I am declaring February 2nd Chris Kyle Day in Texas. We will commemorate his passing, but more importantly, remember his answering of the call of duty,” Abbott said.
Today marks the second anniversary of Kyle’s death at the Rough Creek Lodge in Glen Rose, TX where he and friend Chad Littlefield were gunned down while trying to help a fellow soldier coping with PTSD.
Friend and co-blogger, Proof, posted a great article here at PCP after he had gone to see the now indisputable box office smash American Sniper.  According to Screen Crush, the movie has grossed over $248.9M since its opening on January 16, 2015.
Last Friday, I took the opportunity to see the movie.  It was explosive and sorrowful.  I sat still throughout the film reacting only at the end when director Clint Eastwood included video clips of the 10-mile long funeral procession that traveled the 200 miles from Midlothian to Austin where Chief Petty Officer Chris Kyle would be laid to rest.  Thousands lined the route on a cold, rainy day to pay their respects as the white hearse carrying his remains drove past.
Eastwood made certain that moviegoers knew unequivocally that Chris Kyle was a man of faith by showing the importance of the little Bible he tucked into his flak jacket for each of his four tours of duty. 
The Bible makes several appearances in the film.  In the book, Kyle wrote, “I’d carried a Bible with me.  I hadn’t read it all that much, but it had always been with me.”  At one point in the film, Kyle tells his C.O. that he doesn’t know what a Qur’an looks like. But he can spot a Bible, and he knows what’s important about it without bothering to find out what it says.
Eastwood’s use of the image of the little Bible was a powerful testament to who Chris Kyle was.  When he was learning to hunt, his dad scolded him to never leave his gun in the dirt.  The last image we see of his final tour in Iraq shows both his gun and the little Bible left behind in the dirt as a choking sandstorm overtakes the landscape.
At the end of the film, everyone sat motionless, gathering themselves after seeing the horror of war and the mental torment it inflicts on our brave warriors.  Everyone filed out of the auditorium in perfect silence.  They were thinking what I was thinking:  That such men lived.
“I consider it an indispensible duty to close this last solemn act of my official life by commending the interests of our dearest country to the protection of Almighty God and those who have the superintendence of them into his Holy keeping.”General George Washington at Valley Forge

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