Why Chris Kyle’s Story Matters

Why Chris Kyle'sStory Matters

Today is Chris Kyle Day in Texas. That may not matter to you if you don’t live in Texas, which I don’t. However, Chris Kyle is a hero, and he should be recognized for his achievements as the greatest American sniper.

Exactly two years ago today, Kyle was murdered by a fellow veteran he was helping to overcome Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Why would a fellow veteran murder Kyle? I have no idea. Kyle had suffered from PSTD himself and wanted to help his fellow veterans deal with their own traumatic war experiences.

I haven’t read Kyle’s book yet, but plan to do so in the future. However, I have seen the movie, American Sniper. With my love of history, I tend to watch war movies, especially if I think they will portray what happened in a realistic way. Of all the war movies I have seen American Sniper is by far the one war movie I won’t forget very soon.

Kyle was a brave Navy Seal doing his job as a sniper. In fact, he was darn good at his job, killing over 160 people during his four tours of duty in Iraq. However, being a sniper certainly took a toll on Kyle.

Actor Bradley Cooper did an excellent job of portraying Kyle in the movie. He showed us how the war was ruining his family back home. When he was home, he was distant from his family. What was happening to him? PTSD took hold of his life.

Since I am not a soldier or sailor, I can’t imagine what it must be like dealing with the war memories and the effects of PTSD. But I do know PTSD can affect anyone who has been through a traumatic experience.

What is PTSD?

PTSD is the flashbacks, the nightmares, and the reliving of the experience, whatever it might be. In Kyle’s case, it was the Iraq war and his job as a sniper.

Those with PTSD avoid anything to do with the trauma and become emotionally numb to the trauma. They can’t sleep, have trouble concentrating, are jumpy, and are easy to anger.

In Kyle’s case, he not only got help for himself, but he helped other veterans deal with their war experiences. Sometimes helping others can be the best therapy, and Kyle seemed to pull out of his PTSD.

About thirty percent of veterans suffer from PTSD. It may not be easy for us to understand this disorder or even what a soldier or sailor goes through while overseas fighting in a war. However, we need to understand it.

There are still veterans who suffer from this disorder who fought in Vietnam. Other people suffer from it because of another kind of trauma, such as rape, serious accident, or natural disaster.

I don’t mean to degrade the military in any way, but I want you to understand how important it is for us to educate ourselves about this disorder. I don’t think we realize how many people it truly affects or even how it affects them and their lives.

I know by watching American Sniper it opened my eyes. In fact, I have done research about PTSD since seeing the movie because I wanted to understand what Chris Kyle was going through.

Kyle’s death

I am always amazed by the death of a soldier or sailor during the past few years and how we don’t seem to give the death the respect it deserves. In Kyle’s case, he did get the respect he deserved when he died. Thousands upon thousands of people lined streets and interstates as his body passed through. Flags flew. Military men and women saluted him.

What about other lesser known soldiers and sailors? Do they get the same respect? No, not at all. Why is that? I have often asked myself this question many times, and I have seen this question asked many times.

Yet if a well-known celebrity dies, we dwell on that person’s death for a week. Sometimes that person’s death is the top of the news for up to a month. Why is that? Isn’t the military more important than an actor who makes millions? I think so. The military protects us from the crazy people who attacked us on 9/11 among many other examples. That is simply a more recent example.What does that celebrity do for us besides entertain us on television or in a movie or concert? Nothing that I can think of.

I’m glad the people of Texas memorialized Kyle the way they did. I wish all deceased military men and women could be honored in death the way Kyle was. Maybe the type of funeral you get depends upon what you did while serving in the war, but that shouldn’t matter. Every soldier or sailor is a hero to me, just like Chris Kyle.

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