The funeral procession for ex-Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle drew hundreds to the Texas State Cemetery today. Crowds of spectators filled overpasses along the motorcade's procession route, from Midlothian, Texas to Austin, in order to offer their respects.
Howard Herring served in the Marine Corps in the sixties. Today was his first funeral service as a member of the Patriot Guard, a group of motorcycle riders who attend military funerals as guests of the family. Herring summed up the mood of many in attendance.
“Well, first of all, it’s a tragedy – it’s an American tragedy – Chris Kyle is an American hero. Not only for what he did in combat, but also what he was trying to do when he came back, and help his fellows who had served their country. It’s part of an American tradition.”
The ceremony was attended by dozens of service members in uniform, and it culminated in an Air Force flyover. Chris Kyle, 38, was regarded as the U.S. Military's most lethal sniper in history, with 160 confirmed kills. He and his friend Chad Littlefield were killed at a Stephenville, Texas shooting range on Feb. 2. Kyle was working with fellow veterans afflicted with post-traumatic stress disorder at the time of his death.
As the ceremony at the Texas State Cemetery began, the rumble of motorcycles could no longer be heard. A dog barked incessantly as neighbors and members of military families lined the gates, leaning in to observe the funeral proceedings. A respectful silence fell over the crowd. And one woman held a sign, reading "A legend never dies."