a US Navy Seal veteran and a top-ranked sniper who served four tours in Iraq, has earned many awards in his career. He’s earned the Silver Star Medal and four Bronze Star Medals, but none may be as big, literally, as the one his hometown honored him with. A statue.
To understand the statue, we have to go back. In 2012, three years after he was honorably discharged from the service, he wrote his best-selling novel “American Sniper.” It tells his life story and his experiences as a sniper. The book was turned into the 2014 film of the same title, starring Bradley Cooper and directed by Clint Eastwood. Kyle never got to see the film.
The following year is when things got messy, to say the least. Kyle and his friends, Chad Littlefield and Marine Corp Veteran Eddie Ray Routh, went out to a shooting range. They apparently were trying to help Routh deal with his post-traumatic stress disorder, which Kyle often did for other veterans with the disorder.
But the gathering soon became fatal.
Routh shot and kill both Kyle and Littlefield. Routh was found guilty of murdering both men and was sentenced to life in prison without a chance for parole.
After Kyle’s death, his hometown of Odessa, Texas, honored him with plans to build the aforementioned statue. They finished the statue in July 2016 and placed it in a plaza that they also built in Kyle’s honor. The monument shows him bearing a sniper rifle in one hand and an American flag in the other. Texas and American flags surround the plaza as well as trees that came from the Crawford ranch of former President George W. Bush.
Kelly D. Cook, one of the team members who helped with the design of the plaza, wrote, “It is not meant to be a tourist destination. The memorial is for those who are serving, those who have served, those who never came home, their friends, and their families. We think Chris would have liked that.”
Kyle’s wife, Taya, was at the unveiling of the plaza and statue, and must’ve been having mixed feelings of pride and deep sorrow.
“I think the difference with this one is it is going to be around forever and it’s going to be a place where people are going to be able to sit and reflect,” Taya said.
Whatever the case, this was the right thing for his hometown to do; Chris Kyle deserved nothing less.