Here we go….
*This is part one of my thoughts concerning the memorials of Chris Kyle. I will post part two tomorrow.
Chris Kyle was laid to rest. He caught a ride from this life in an earthen vessel bound for the afterlife. It was sad, yet the finality that all needed.
He was surrounded by his lovely family. His wife Taya was strong. She sat between her two children. She put on a brave face. She seemed to have the celestial vision that one day she and Chris Kyle would once again be together. His mom and dad sat staring blankly at the son they would never see again. A disquieting essay drifting listlessly through a life that ended so suddenly. Military men dressed in immaculate uniforms, most decorated with a breast full of medals and ribbons, tokens for waging war.
Then there were Chris Kyle’s teammates. His people. His brothers in arms. It had the appearance of characters in a Greek tragedy. They looked on with steely eyes, jaws set, voices low, and a precise matter of movement. Not a one was shedding tears, but they all wanted to. They had come from coast-to-coast, border-to-border to cement their respect for Chris Kyle. Some had gone to battle with Chris Kyle. Others knew him from training. Some didn’t know him at all. But they were there.
A funeral glow loomed large as a blustery wind enveloped Austin. As one peered at the capital building, you could view the flag flying proudly at half-staff. All flags in the capital city were rested proudly halfway down the poles. On the steel fence circling the historic cemetery was a band of warriors standing sentry. The confine palisade was honeycombed with bizarre people. It was a whole battalion of bikers. Some weekend riders wearing Rolexes, some were the occasional jockey wearing black vests over neatly pressed shirts, and the rest were hard-core bikers. Some were even SEALs. When asked their motive, one long-haired, bearded gent donning club colors quickly sizing me up and down. Then he proclaimed they were there to “confront ruthless forces. He told me “there would be no protesting or any lurid methods of tarnishing the image of Chris Kyle.” I felt safe, and horrified.
After a word from the priest, the stately, rigid, strict pomp and circumstance began. Following ranks behind a bagpipe and drum troupe came the flag draped casket carrying the body of Chris Kyle. Hoisted by an honor congregate, sharply dressed, immaculate and in lock-step war fighters carefully made their way to the burial site. After an ad hoc, ripe manner, the coffer of Chris Kyle was placed on the grave plot waiting to be lowered into his final resting place. There was a rifle salute. Fighter jets flying slightly above tree lines it seemed. Then it was time for taps. As the distant bugler played the somber song flawlessly, it was time for the ceremonial folding of the flag. Two spit and shine warriors folded with unshielded, remarkable and rapt of decisive precision. As the flag was passed to the widow of Chris Kyle, the mood quickly changed. A malaise of disconsolate and dolent hit the service with the impact of a missile. Eyes were red and behind the shade of sunglasses, grown men wept. Some louder than others. I was among this group. As Chris Kyle’s wife clutched the flag as if it we’re a new-born child, the sadness and sorrow reigned down. The tears flowed like the many rivers that gush through Austin. Still the squadron of Navy SEALs stood erect and respectful. Now it was time for this group of proud combatants to say goodbye forever.
The official title is “special warfare insignia”. Most Seals call it ” the trident” or “the Budweiser “. It is the most coveted display of combat badge in the world. It represents a brotherhood and bond that you and I will never know. It is representative of four elements:
- THE ANCHOR…pays homage to the Navy
- THE SCEPTER OF NEPTUNE ( TRIDENT )…king of waterways and oceans.
- THE PISTOL…signifies SEALs capability on land
- THE EAGLE…our Nation’s emblem of freedom.
SEALs consider this as the holy grail. A symbol of courage, stamina and determination. The gold coat of arms means life and death, and the SEALs mantra of never leaving a comrade behind. As you can see, it’s much more than just another military decoration. It is guarded closely and never taken off. Armed with this information, I wasn’t ready for the next revolution. A high-ranking SEAL marched to Chris Kyle’s highly varnished, wooden casket. The Navy man then removed his Trident. And with the force of a blacksmith he pounded the medallion symbol into the coffin. He then backed up a few steps and saluted slowly toward Chris Kyle. Then, one-by-one, the fraternity of SEALs took their turn. A snap march to the casket and discarded their pin. Some took only one. Others needed to hammer twice. And by the time this strict ritual was over, the bed in which Chris Kyle will occupy for eternity was full from one end to the other. Signs of love and undaunted respect. It was then that the brave and courageous SEALs broke down. They joined the trail of tears. The staunch and explosive outside gave way to their inner emotions. Emotions they learn to ignore. But saying goodbye to a fallen warrior is never easy. The faculties grew gauzy. A strong mast was broken, but the ship will continue to sail.
Christopher Scott Kyle…a warrior for freedom, a hero to us all.
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