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'Sniper' movie tells grandson's story

Staff writer

The Hollywood movie, “American Sniper,” to be released on Christmas Day in some movie theaters, tells the story of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, who served from 1999 to 2009.

Joyce Kyle of Burns is the grandmother of the 38-year-old veteran, who died on a Texas shooting range in 2013 while trying to help a fellow veteran.

“I get so many cards and letters,” she said. “They say, ‘You must be so proud of him,’ but I say he didn’t have to do that to make me proud. I was proud of him the day he was born.”

Kyle said her son, Wayne, and his family recently saw a private showing of the movie. She won’t see it until it comes out in the area in mid-January.

The movie is based on Chris Kyle’s best-selling 2012 memoir, “American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History.”

Kyle is credited by the military with more confirmed kills during four tours in Iraq than any sharpshooter in American history. His actions saved many American lives.

Kyle’s father, Wayne, graduated from Peabody-Burns High School in 1987. He married a girl from Texas and has lived at Odessa most of his life. Chris was the first of two sons born to the couple.

Joyce Kyle said she loved her grandson. When she visited, he always invited her to go along with him when he went places.

She said her nephew, Bob Kyle of Peabody, was sent to break the news to her of her grandson’s death. She went to Texas for the funeral. A lot of secrecy surrounded the event. There was a fear of terrorism. Wayne was told, “Make sure your family is protected.”

She said she was contacted by Channel 12, Wichita, for an interview, but was told to decline the invitation for her safety’s sake. She said the family still doesn’t have much of a private life.

Kyle has mixed feelings about going to see the movie. She plans to take along plenty of facial tissues. Nephew Bob will accompany her.

She said a cousin in Florida saw a preview and reported that Bradley Cooper, who plays the part of Chris, looks so much like him.

“It’ll be hard to watch,” she said. “There may be parts I’ll wish I wouldn’t have seen, but I don’t want to stay away and then go through life wishing I had seen it.”

Chris Kyle’s younger brother is Joyce’s only other grandchild. She has four great-grandchildren — two from Chris and two from his brother.

Last modified Dec. 22, 2014

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