On Monday, nearly 7,000 people gathered at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX, to attend a memorial service for slain former Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle.
Kyle's flag-draped casket was borne by a team of SEALs and placed on the Cowboys star at the 50-yard line. The Texas native and his best friend, Chad Littlefield, were murdered on February 2. Childhood friends, comrades in arms and Kyle's wife, Taya, delivered emotional eulogies commemorating the man known to the enemy in Iraq as "the Devil of Ramadi," but to his friends and family as a caring father, husband and pal.
Mrs. Kyle began her eulogy by saying, "Chris always said, 'The body will do whatever the mind tells it to.' I'm counting on that now. I stand before you a broken woman, but I am now and always will be the wife of a man who was a warrior both on and off the battlefield."
A Navy SEAL comrade read a letter from Kyle's parents: "God anointed you with the name The Protector," they wrote. "Your life embodied the full meaning of that. You were tender to the young. Compassionate with the wounded. And sympathetic for the less fortunate. The Lord had his hand on you the moment you were born. You were destined for greatness."
Following Mrs. Kyle's eulogy, country-music star Randy Travis played "Whisper My Name," which Mrs. Kyle told him was a meaningful song for the couple. He then played "Amazing Grace," after which a pipe-and-drum corps led the recessional out of the stadium.
A funeral procession escorted by hundreds of Patriot Guard Riders, and law enforcement and military personnel on Tuesday covered 200 miles from Kyle's hometown of Midlothian to the Texas State Cemetery in Austin, where the American hero was buried with full military honors.
Many Shooting Illustrated readers have asked us to post our interview with CPO Kyle, which ran in the May 2012 issue, on ShootingIllustrated.com. The interview can be found here.