American hero Chris Kyle — more than just a sniper

Published 12:09 pm Tuesday, March 17, 2015

If you haven’t seen the movie American Sniper, you should take the time to. For some people who probably never even saw the movie, it was controversial. To a lot of us, the movie portrayed the life and legend of a true patriot who was a devoted family man, serving his country well as a Navy Seal.

Christopher Scott Kyle was born and raised in rural Texas. That, in itself, says a lot for the way he developed his values, emphasizing some of the same things we who grew up here in eastern North Carolina developed. From the time he was able to walk, he was allowed to take a gun and use it as a tool to harvest wild game to help feed his family. He learned the life styles of a cowboy and farmer and when he saw that our country was in need of someone to serve in our military, he volunteered.

Kyle served numerous tours of duty in war torn-Iraq and was a highly decorated Navy Seal. Those tours in the Middle East are where we first began to learn about and appreciate what Chris Kyle’s military actions had accomplished. After many Americans began to take notice of his outstanding military accomplishments, we also began to see another side of Chris Kyle as a devoted family man and dedicated public servant.

America has learned that our military personnel, who were involved in many of the really brutal sides of war, returned to their homes with problems. In recent years, post traumatic stress disorder has become nearly an everyday term around the Veterans Hospitals. War does leave psychological scars that need treatment and when Kyle came home to this family, he also realized that his “family” was not just his wife and children; it included a host of his military brothers. Homecoming for Kyle involved a great deal of time spent serving to help cure battle scars to his entire extended family.

Kyle was also a gifted writer and when he returned from military service he began work on American history and the role that the gun has played in out nation’s history. He was working on the book, American Gun; A History Of The U.S. In Ten Firearms, at the time of his untimely death at the hand of one of the very veterans that he was trying to help. Kyle lived by his personal motto of “it is our duty to serve those who serve us.”

It might be a good suggestion for most public schools to include several copies of “American Gun; A History Of The U.S. In Ten Firearms” in their libraries. In the book, Kyle suggests, “Perhaps more than any other nation in the world the history of the United States has been shaped by the gun. Firearms secured the first Europeans’ hold on the continent, opened the frontier, helped win our independence, settled the west, kept law and order and defeated tyranny across the world.”

Obviously Chris Kyle had a great deal of knowledge about firearms and the part they played in the development of America. He uses the development of the American long rifle, the Spencer repeater, the Colt .45 revolver, the Winchester rifle, the Springfield 1903 rifle, the Thompson sub-machine gun, the 1911 pistol, the M1 Gerand, the .38 special police revolver and the M16 rifle platform to illustrate the part these weapons have played in the history of the United States.

For one example the role guns played in out history, he uses the little known fact that President Abraham Lincoln had a great deal of experience with guns and frequently practiced his shooting skills on a shooting range behind the White House. Most historians leave this bit of knowledge out of their writings.

The history of Kyle — his life, death and legacy — is also now a part of our American history. If you haven’t seen the movie “American Sniper” and read his book “American Sniper, The Autobiography Of the Most Lethal Sniper In U.S. History,” you should. The movie and book might offend some, but so be it. These ideas are now a part of Americana.