UK & World News

  • 12 February 2013, 0:25

Chris Kyle: Memorial For US Sniper Shot Dead

A memorial service has been held for former US Navy Seal Chris Kyle - who was shot dead at a gun range - at the NFL home of the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas.

Mr Kyle's wife, Taya Kyle, spoke through tears as she stood in front of her husband's flag-draped coffin, her voice trembling as she described to a crowd of thousands what he meant to his family, friends and country.

"Chris, there isn't enough time to tell you everything you mean to me and everything you taught me," the widow said during a two-hour memorial service for the decorated sniper and best-selling author.

She described herself as broken but said the family will "put one foot in front of the other" to get through their grief. She told her two children that they will remember their father's silly side, Texas twang and times they prayed together.

Nearly 7,000 people, including former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and her husband, attended the service.

Dozens of military personnel and others were seated in front of the podium near the Dallas Cowboys' star at midfield, where Mr Kyle's coffin was placed at the beginning of the memorial.

After the eulogy, country singer Randy Travis sang Whisper My Name, which he said Tay Kyle had told him was a meaningful song for the couple.

At the end of the service, bagpipers played as military personnel carried out the coffin - and many in the crowd saluted.

Some who served with him said that Mr Kyle was a man, myth and legend because he would do anything for his fellow Seals. Some of his childhood friends recalled his mischievous side, and one said he and Mr Kyle played with BB guns as kids - but Kyle "wasn't a good shot back then".

Before and during the service, pictures of Mr Kyle with his family and Seals were shown on a large screen in the stadium.

The back page of the memorial service programme included copies of handwritten notes from Mr Kyle's children.

"I will miss your heart. I will love you even if you died," his daughter wrote. His son said: "I miss you a lot. One of the best things that has happened to me is you."

Mr Kyle completed four tours of duty in Iraq and wrote the best-selling book American Sniper: The Autobiography Of The Most Lethal Sniper in US Military History, which detailed 160 killings of insurgents from 1999 to 2009.

Iraq War veteran Eddie Ray Routh, 25, has been charged over the February 2 killings of Mr Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield at a North Texas gun range.