Texans Know How To Honor A War Hero
Anyone who knows a Texan knows how proud Texans are of “Texas Hospitality.” I have a Texan friend (aside from my wife), who sent me a blow-by-blow description of Chris Kyle’s (American Sniper) funeral in 2013, as recorded by the mother of one of his closest boyhood friends, who also was a Navy SEAL in Iraq with him. She spent the day before the ceremony at the Kyle residence with his family, attended the funeral ceremony in Arlington, Texas (between Dallas and Fort Worth), and the next day rode in the 200-mile procession from the Kyle residence in Midlothian, Texas (just south of the Dallas-Fort Worth metro) area to the Texas State Cemetery in Austin, his honored burial site.
If you saw the film, you know that Chris’s wife, Taya, begged him to leave the Navy. He had spent four consecutive tours in Iraq and was so effective as a sniper, the enemy placed a substantial bounty on his head. He finally relented and came home to his wife and two small children, and soon wrote his book, American Sniper, which was very successful. He donated all the proceeds from book sales to SEAL families who had lost sons in Iraq. (“That’s just the kind of guy he was.”) However, within two years of his homecoming, he was killed by a fellow veteran whom he was trying to help through his PTSD — the height of irony — on Feb. 2, 2013.
Quotes here are from the mother of a longtime comrade of Kyle’s — who for safety reasons will remain anonymous:
In the days before the funeral, the Kyle residence in Midlothian was swamped by mourning friends. Dallas-based Southwest Airways provided free flights for Navy SEALs and families. Marriott had provided rooms for $45 per night, with volunteer police and Secret Service on duty 24/7. Large charter buses and rental cars were donated.
Texas Department of Public Safety parked a huge motor home in front of the residence, so visitors could use the bathroom facilities and have a comfortable place to gather without having to go into the house.
Local barbecue restaurants catered food for everyone, relieving the family of that concern. The Kyle family church kept Taya, two children, two sets of parents and other visiting family fed.
George and Laura Bush spent a long visit with Taya and the children, met and talked with family members and all the guests, and led a prayer service. (“You can tell when people are really sincere.”)
Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys — “the man everyone loves to hate” — was a “rock star.” When it became obvious thousands of people were coming to the funeral, he donated the Cowboy’s AT&T Stadium for the ceremony. About 300 guests were taken to the exclusive “Legends” high in the luxury boxes for a buffet lunch. Chris’s flag-draped casket was placed exactly on the Cowboy star in the middle of the field.
(“The service started at 1 p.m, and we were shocked that 10,000 people showed up. The bagpipers and drum corps were marvelous. The Texas A&M men’s choir concluded the service. We were all in tears.”)
The next day was the motorcade from Midlothian to Texas State Cemetery, where only notables are interred: Civil War heroes, historic Alamo defenders, Medal of Honor recipients and past governors. It was a cold, rainy day, but still it included five large luxury buses, dozens of police vehicles, The Freedom Riders (mostly veterans on motorcycles) and perhaps a hundred private cars, passing people standing in the chilly weather for most of the 200 miles to pay their respects.
After the formal burial service, each SEAL in turn placed his “SEAL Trident” badge on top of the casket, and with one powerful blow of the hand, drove the attachment pins into the casket — a time-honored tradition and another tearful moment.
The SEAL’s mother concluded: “The sentiments encapsulated in this letter are the reason the Left will never triumph in America. They simply don’t get it!”
In that regard, the Kyle family has never heard a single word of condolence or appreciation from the commander-in-chief or anyone else in the White House.