As a cowboy, Texan, husband, father, life saver, Navy SEAL and the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history, Chris Kyle was a lot of things to a lot of people. Above all, perhaps, Kyle was an American hero in the fullest sense — flawed, yet passionately devoted to his God, country and family.
Just three short months after his tragic murder, Kyle's wife Taya spoke about him at the 2013 NRA show in Houston, Texas, before a large crowd of teary-eyed NRA members. With pictures from across the spectrum of his life and military service on the big screen behind her, Taya recounted the life of her husband — a war hero, friend to struggling veterans and father of two young children. She recounted something he told her in January shortly before his death.
"Chris told me, 'I would love for people to think of me as a guy who stood up for what he believed in and helped make a difference for veterans, someone who cared so much about them that he wanted them taken care of.' Well, Chris, well done babe. You did it," Taya said, wiping tears from her eyes amid the applause of the crowd.
Kyle undoubtedly left a legacy of self-sacrifice in the cause of conviction, something Taya said should give us all courage to stand and fight not only for the Second Amendment, but for all of our rights. With the right to bear arms comes the responsibility to defend our freedom, even at great personal cost. From the battlefields of Ramadi to his native soil of Texas, Kyle knew the cost intimately.
"From the days of Cain and Abel, we know all too well there will always be evil," Taya said. "But that evil shouldn't take away our freedoms. In fact, the only way to defeat evil is by taking advantage of our freedoms."
I would encourage you to watch the video, and as you do, consider Kyle's life in the words of his widow: "He was an everyday boy who did the best he could at what he loved, and he grew into an everyday man, loving his God, his country and loving his family." We may not all be heroes in the eyes of the world, but we each have the opportunity to make a difference for others in some everyday way. Be that kind of hero today.