This afternoon at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, thousands attended to pay tribute to the recently slain NAVY Seal sniper Chris Kyle. The hour-plus long service was sad, sweet, patriotic, decidedly Texan, and ultimately a human touch for a man who in recent days has been painted as Greek God Superman.
There was no way anybody attending this service did not cry, especially when Kyle's wife - Taya - spoke to their couple's children.
Chris' accomplishments as a sniper have been well documented and celebrated with stories and medals, but the humanity of this man has not. A man's ability to bear hug isn't as cool as a hitting a target in high wind with a high powered rifle.
His friends told stories about how, despite his presence in the United States Navy, he actually hated the water. That he was a bit of a slob. That he preferred to wear his Texas Longhorns hat rather than standard issued outfit. How he went out of his way to find a reason not to participate in any training exercise that involved water. Chris was, according to friends, an endless prankster.
A letter written by Kyle's parents was read. In it included: "Our hearts ache to feel those loving bear hugs. For us to hear I love you dad. And I love you mom."
A young man with two young children and a wife, and whose presence meant to so many others, is gone. Watching his wife, Taya Kyle, struggle with her words as she recounted their relationship put 'sadness' in a different perspective.
"I stand before you a broken woman," she said, struggling to keep her composure.
Taya recounted the beginnings of their relationship how she confided in him, "I'm really messed up." To which he said, "You're a package deal, babe."
At the end of her letter, Taya said: "I love you, Chris. I love you. I love you."
The service concluded with the traditional playing of Taps, followed by a procession of Scottish bag pipes. Chris' casket was then carried out, followed by Taya and the couple's two young children.
April 8, 1974 - February 2, 2013
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