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Government/Politics

Texas Honors Legendary U.S. Sniper With ‘Chris Kyle Day’

Exactly two years after being killed near his Texas home, Chris Kyle was honored by his state with a day in his honor, with flags across the state flying at half-staff.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a proclamation declaring Monday ‘Chris Kyle Day’ in the state where the retired Navy SEAL was raised and lived after serving multiple tours of duty in Iraq. Abbott, while making the announcement in Austin, called Kyle “an American hero,” and “the face of a legion of warriors who have led the mightiest military in the history of the world.”

Fox News reported that several White House petitions have been launched calling for Kyle to be awarded the Medal of Honor. One of them states he should be awarded, posthumously, “For his four tours to Iraq, which saved hundreds and possibly thousands of US soldiers lives.” It can be found here, and is currently at about 7,000 signatures. Petitions generally need more than 100,000 to merit a non-binding White House response.

Kyle is reputed to be the deadliest sniper in American history. Actor Bradley Cooper plays him in the movie based on Kyle's autobiography, American Sniper, a film that has made nearly $250 million in theaters so far.

Kyle and Chad Littlefield, a neighbor and friend, were fatally shot on Feb. 2, 2013 at the Rough Creek Ranch-Lodge-Resort shooting range in Glen Rose, Erath County, north Texas. The trial of the suspected gunman, a fellow Iraq war veteran and former Marine named Eddie Ray Routh — believed to have been having mental health issues caused by post-traumatic stress disorder, a man Kyle was trying to help — starts on Feb. 11 in Stephenville, Texas.

Kyle, reportedly in order to cope with his own post war trauma, had dedicated his life to helping fellow veterans, especially those suffering from PTSD. He helped found the FITCO Cares Foundation, a nonprofit that helped provide in-home fitness equipment to veterans with PTSD.

Six months after Kyle’s shooting, then Texas Gov. Rick Perry had signed off on Senate Bill 162, also known as the ‘Chris Kyle Bill,’ which was meant to acknowledge military training in the issuance of occupational licenses, required by the government for people to practice certain professions. The bill was co-sponsored by State Rep. Dan Flynn (R-Van) and State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte (D-San Antonio).