"Duty, honor, country: Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be,
what you can be, what you will be.
They are your rallying point to build courage when courage seems to fail,
to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith,
to create hope when hope becomes forlorn."
~General of the Army Douglas McArthur May 12, 1962
|Front of Chris Kyle |
Memorial Service Program
"In Memory of Chris Kyle
Seal Creed/Wreath Laying
Letter from the family
Message from Taya Kyle
- "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
- "I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress:my god, in him I trust."
"Chief Chris Kyle (USN) tragically died on Saturday, February 2, 2013. Chris lived and died by his personal creed, "it is our duty to serve those who serve us." Chris was one of a kind in so many ways. You could tell the difference between those who knew Chris, even if briefly, and those who knew of Chris. The difference was simple, if the only talked about a fun-loving humble warrior who loved his family they heard of him. If they talked about his heart of gold, and his ability to give without end, there were touched by him. If they talked about the twinkle in his eye, his hearty laugh, his ability to make your feel like you were important and that mischievous grin where you just knew he was "fixin' to do something", they REALLY knew him.
Chris was a father who was able to bring an unparalleled playful spirit to his family's home while he taught respect and honor. Every day he felt 'blessed and blown away" by the gift God gave him in his children. He was a husband who loved deeply and never stopped trying. He felt his family deserved the best of him and he fought tooth and nail to give them everything he had. He succeeded. He was a son and a brother who brought laughter and love from the beginning. They always have been, and always will be, proud of the boy he was and the man he became.
A devout Christian, a teammate and friend, Chris had a profound effect on the lives of many. He was publicly known for being the President of Craft International, LLC and author of the best-selling book "American Sniper". He was a Navy Seal who served four combat tours in Operation Iraqi Freedom and elsewhere, He was awarded several medals or combat bravery, including 2 Silver stars, and Five Bronze Stars with valor among others. Chris was a true American Hero."
Heroes may not be braver than anyone else.
They're just braver 5 minutes longer"
Monday was a cool and overcast day in greater Dallas Fort Worth. Cowboys Stadium in Arlington is about a 15 minute drive from our home. The Memorial Ceremony for Chris Kyle was scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m. The doors of Cowboy's stadium were opened at 11:30 a.m. We arrived and parked on the north west side of the Stadium in parking section 10. As we (my hubby, the fabulous Mr. OK & I) were getting out of the car announcements were made that no purses, packages, umbrellas, or cameras would be allowed inside of the facility so my purse got stowed in our vehicle and we took one of our four umbrellas we keep in each of the door pockets as it had started to rain.
We walked to the end of the cue waiting our turn to be scanned with a hand-held metal detector. The line moved tediously slowly. It took about 20 minutes to reach the entry, where we discarded the umbrella in the nearest waste can.
We entered Cowboys Stadium at the "K" entrance, and it struck me as so fitting an entrance to say good bye to a true American hero. As we approached the head of the line 3 on duty Arlington Police Department Swat members were to the left of the door, and they were armed with AR-15's. Everyone in line noticed and everyone in line really (at least in earshot of my husband and I) was commenting and supportive of seeing AR-15s. Neither my husband or myself had ever gone to the new facility and it is beautiful. We rode an escalator to what must be the main mezzanine of the stadium. The Stadium (courtesy of Jerry Jones) provided free soft drinks and bottled water. We followed the foot traffic and got into another line that led to sections for seating.
Our Seats were on the second level, and were at the 50 yard line. Perfect for viewing the days events.
Cowboys stadium has a huge jumbotron that had a looped slide show running of Chris Kyle's life. Chris Kyle is a native Texan. In the slide show there were shots of him as a child with his brother playing, riding horseback, winning awards at county fairs, prom pictures, Christmases, birthdays, school dances, graduation and his wedding. then there were many many shots of Chris Kyle serving this nation in country in America's War on Terror. Pictures with his teammates, in camo, with his sniper rifle, his sloppy bunk area, and picture after picture of those with whom he served. Pictures of him as a civilian, with his family and children. It was lovely.
My impression of all these pictures that fleeted across the jumbotron, was first this man had a broad smile. He was genuine. You could tell if you had the opportunity to meet him you would like him.
|Chris' helmet, flack jacket, boots and sniper rifle |
on the stage at the Memorial
The stadium filled up. There was a stage on the fifty yard line, with a dias, and microphones. At the center of the stage was a cross composed of a helmet boots and a sniper rifle. To the left of the stage was a three tiered platform for the young men's choir that sang. Soon all those vacant chairs on the field were filled with Chris's family and row after row of military men and women in dress uniforms and camos.
The Memorial Service started Promply at 1:00 p.m. the memorial service started. Motorcycle riders who would escort Chis Kyle ringed the sidelines of the field. The Procession was impressive. When the bagpipes started playing 'Scotland The Brave' I teared up and I continued to weep through most of the service. ( I looked for a YouTube but could not find a single one as lovely as the group assembled for the service. They were dressed in traditional Scottish Kilts and the drum section was subdued. I was not alone in weeping.
|Chris Kyle and his lovely wife Taya|
The tributes to Chris from his friends, family and the men he served with were sincere, and they spoke of a hero, a great friend, father, son, brother and comrade in arms. When his wife spoke it was just gut wrenching, heart breaking.
In my lifetime I have been to many memorial services. I cannot remember a single one as moving. I have buried my mother, brother father and cried through their services. I cried as hard for this Memorial and I did not know Chris Kyle but I knew of his legend.
When I was 17 my father and I had our only awful argument. It was about the Vietnam War. I was angry. I was angry that the men who lead this great nation at the time did not have the courage to to the honorable thing and declare a war. It seemed dishonorable to me, that the young men drafted to serve were dying unfairly. My Father, who was a member of the President's Army Band at the time was livid. I cannot remember a time when he was more angry with me. He determined that I would attend every funeral service that he had the duty of playing TAPS that summer. I would dress up and stand to the side. He also said that there would be no excuses, no colds, no stomach flus, I would go to each and every funeral service. He also said that I would after the service was ended I would respectfully and humbly thank the mother, father, wife, whoever received the flag from the honor guard for their loved ones bravery and for defending my freedom. My father that summer Monday through Friday performed TAPS at no less than 5 funerals a day. Some days there were more than 10.
It was one of the greatest gifts my father ever gave me. My debt of honor, my duty to thank those who have given their last best measure. On Monday, I gladly gave my time, my prayers and my heartfelt thanks to God that he gifted America with a truly brave man, who fought for my freedom. And I cried, because of Chris Kyle's life and service America was made greater. Because of his dedication and bravery many men serving and fighting were made safer. Chis Kyle is a true American hero, a legend who met his responsibility and more than deserved this beautiful tribute. A family lost a son, brother, father husband. Texas lost a son, America a warrior and hero. Thank you God for your gift of Chris that he is a part of American History, a legend and a man who from all reports from all quarters was a man to be admired.
May God Bless Chris Kyle, and his family, comrades in arms, friends and America.
|With a firm reliance on the protection to each other our Lives, |
our fortunes and our sacred Honor.
"...It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.
It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion--that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain,
that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom,
and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth."
Excerpted from the Gettysburg Address ~Abraham Lincoln