Chris Kyle laid to rest in Texas
Thousands of people showed up at Cowboy Stadium in Texas yesterday for a memorial service for navy sniper and author Chris Kyle. One of them was my wife's best friend, Jamie, who attended with two friends who also volunteer for the USO.
Today we attended the memorial service of Chris Kyle at Cowboy Stadium in Arlington, Texas. There were over 7,000 in present. We weren’t sure what to expect. The local news stations said we weren’t allowed to bring bags, purses, coats or cameras, and to expect long lines. As we parked and walked up to the stadium we see a huge line wrapped around the whole parking lot. Helicopters were circling the stadium, policeman everywhere. Camera crews everywhere. We must give Jerry Jones props. Parking was free and they gave all in attendance free sodas and water. As we walked into the stadium to sit in our seats they were showing a montage on the huge jumbo screen as The Band of Brothers theme song was playing. Pictures of Chris with his wife, children, teammates, childhood photos.
We were with an army friend of ours in uniform. Numerous times officials were advising him to go to the military entrance so he could sit with his brothers in arms on the field. As the military service members made their way down on the field everyone in attendance stood to honor them. It took over 45 minutes for them to be seated and not once did anyone sit down, it was silent. Country stars Neil McCoy and Joe Nichols each sang a song and then the drum and bagpipe processional came out from all the local Dallas-Fort Worth communities with the family with the flag draped coffin as Patriot Guard Riders with flags lined the whole field. The speakers included teammates, two childhood friends, his Craft business partner, Marc Lee’s mother, video tributes, and a letter from his parents to Chris read by his teammate. As each person spoke we learned about his love of Texas, what a prankster he was, how a choke out by him meant love, and how much he treasured being a husband and father. Each branch brought in a wreath and placed it in front which included one wreath from the Polish military. As one of his teammates spoke he asked all Frog men past and present during the reading of the SEAL creed to stand up. There must have been over 200 standing.
Then we see the pallbearers stand up and walk over to Mrs Kyle. We didn’t expect her to speak but we watched as a Marine escorted her up to the stage with the pallbearers behind her. She said she was broken but that the family will put one foot in front of the other to get through their grief. She spoke with strength through tears. She had to pause to compose herself many times as she spoke to her children and to Chris. She made a joke about his Texas twang and she thanked him for not giving up on her. We noticed she had his wedding band on next to her wedding ring. She encouraged her children, Bubba and Baby Girl, his nicknames for them, to remember that their dad was fun. She paid a loving tribute to his friend Chad Littlefield whom she called FBB -Friend before Book. She finished by saying “I love you Chris, I love you.” After she sat down Randy Travis came out to sing Whisper My Name and Amazing Grace.
We did not know Chris Kyle personally. We met him once at a book signing, shared a laugh, took some pictures, read his book, but we shared a love of Texas, a love of country, and serving those who serve.
Chris' widow struck the right tone with her comments:
RIP CPO Kyle. Our thoughts and prayers are with your family.