Last week, Gov. Greg Abbott declared Feb. 2 as Chris Kyle Day in Texas. Kyle, the notorious Navy SEAL marksman who was portrayed in the popular film "American Sniper," is a big deal, especially as of late with the success of the film. Everyone and their mother know about "the guy from 'American Sniper.'" According to this CNN article, "Kyle became a legend in military circles due to his 160 confirmed kills and developed a deadly reputation in Iraq, where he served several times. He's considered one of the most lethal snipers in U.S. history." Kyle was murdered in 2013 at a North Texas gun range by a former Marine.
Abbott's justification for the introduction of the holiday was based on honoring our military heroes. During his speech at the Texas Veterans of Foreign Wars Convention last Friday, Abbott described Abbott as "a man who defended his brothers and sisters in arms on and off the battlefield." His announcement was met with a standing ovation.
This is a uniquely unpolitical move on behalf of Abbott. While I'm not surprised that such an act of patriotic appreciation is happening in Texas, you would be hard-pressed to find concrete opposition to the holiday. Despite that fact that Kyle earned his notoriety from killing people, he was killed unjustly — something characterized by other holidays we celebrate in the United States.
While Kyle is no Martin Luther King, Jr. (or John F. Kennedy, for that matter), he is a Texan, and Lord knows Texans love celebrating their own. In fact, the same CNN article reported that "thousands mourned him in his home state, lining a 200-mile route to his final resting place in Austin and attending a memorial service at the Cowboys stadium in Dallas." Kyle was undeniably loved, so why not name a day after him? The words frivolous and unnecessary initially came to mind when I read about Abbott's declaration, but now I realize that this act is just what Abbott needed to boost morale across the state. Regardless of your political affiliation, you can't help but admit that the holiday was instituted for the right reasons.
Happy Chris Kyle Day to you all.