RIP Chris Kyle: A Few Words from NRA Life of Duty Contributor and Best-Selling Author Eric Blehm
There are a couple of words that come to mind when I think of Chris Kyle: “service” and “humble.” When I first met Chris, I wasn’t sure how he might come across. After all, his book, American Sniper, is an autobiography about his “exploits” as the “most lethal sniper in U.S. military history.”
We got together on a live webcast to discuss American Sniper and my book Fearless, the story of one of Chris’s SEAL brethren Adam Brown. Within fifteen minutes of our discussion—before the live web event even began—he had made it very clear how much he hated the subtitle to his book but had been unable to dissuade his publisher to remove it. In the end, he understood the importance of the subtitle to the publisher in order to tell readers who he was and what he did with the added benefit of the “wow” factor. Readers would eat it up.
And they did. Some of the SEALs I had met thought that both the statement and the book were over the top, that Chris had cashed in on his service. What they didn’t know, and I didn’t either before this meeting, was that Chris gave ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of everything he made on American Sniper to the families of the men in the book who were killed in action, the men Chris felt he had let down. The men he had been responsible for as overwatch on their missions.
There was nothing self-serving about that gesture—to take care of the families of his fallen teammates. It was completely selfless.
As we continued to talk, Chris deflected any praise I gave him, instead giving credit to others. He was focused on telling our audience what they could do to help veterans and those who serve. One of the things he said we could all do to help is to perform “random acts of kindness.” If we know a veteran in need, do what we are able to help them out. Pick something appropriate, and do it. Maybe it’s baking a neighbor brownies, maybe it’s helping a buddy through his PTSD by going to a shooting range for target practice, which for those in the Armed Forces can be like going out to toss around a football. From what I understand, this is exactly what Chris was doing when the unthinkable happened.
On the day Chris’s life was taken from him (as well as the life of his friend Chad Littlefield) he could have been doing what he loved the most: being with his wife and children, watching his daughter practice ballet, coaching his son’s football team…the very reason he had retired from active duty . Instead, he was continuing to serve his fellow Americans.
I salute you, Chris Kyle, for dedicating your life to your family and your country’s warriors, both on the battlefield and at home, where for many the battles continue. Rest in peace, Chris. You will not be forgotten.
- Eric Blehm
Click here to make a donation to the Chris Kyle Memorial Trust
Click here to watch an excerpt from the webcast with Eric and Chris.