Chris Kyle, the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history, said patriotism gave him the strength to keep going in dangerous and exhausting situations.
Kyle, a former Navy SEAL who served four combat tours in Operation Iraqi Freedom, was the featured speaker at Thursday’s Frank S. Dennis Jr. Lectureship Series held by University Health Care System. He is the author of a New York Times best-seller, American Sniper (HarperCollins, $26.99), which recounts some of his experiences in the military.
Kyle has 150 confirmed kills as a sniper, according to the Pentagon. The previous record for an American sniper was 109, according to HarperCollins.
He addressed the audience on what people in the military are accomplishing and the importance of supporting them and their families during and after their service.
“My stories aren’t unique to just me or the SEALs,” he said. “You feel while you’re over there that you’re over there for the greater good. We’re not there for Iraq or Afghanistan; we’re there for our buddies to the left and right of us and for our country.”
Kyle’s wife also lent her voice to the book, he said, sharing the difficulties of military family life and the struggles faced on the home front. He hopes that his book and his message can encourage communities to not only support the troops but also their families.
“They’re not the only ones at war; it’s the families. too,” he said.
Kyle encouraged those gathered to give monetarily to reputable charities but also to help by doing random acts of kindness for those serving in the military and their families.
“Go a step farther than saying you support the troops, and show it,” he said. “It will knock their socks off.”
Laurie Ott, University’s vice president of community services and president of the University Health Care Foundation, said she hoped Kyle’s message would resonate in light of the upcoming Memorial Day holiday.
“It was serendipitous timing, but it’s an important time to remember the sacrifices of those who have given so much, some all,” she said.