I recently went to see American Sniper, and through the movie I learned Chris Kyle started out as a cowboy. Kyle is a local hero and his loss hit everyone hard here in Texas. But for some reason, the news media never mentioned his early days in the rodeo.
It shouldn’t come as any surprise that he was a cowboy. Military ranks are filled, and always have been, by men who left the fields and farms behind to take up arms in defense of God and Country. My father and most of his brothers did, much to my grandfather’s dismay. My father-in-law and his brothers did the same. Those farm boys already knew how to shoot, they were in good physical condition, and they were used to hardship. They were ideal soldier material.
They also had that code of ethics unique to cowboys. Honor your parents, love your country, defend your women and your property. They knew how to take orders, knew how to work sixteen hours a day and more when necessary. They could sleep anywhere, anytime, they were used to being outside in all kinds of weather, and they could do most anything, from fixing a tractor to birthing a calf.
I’m usually hard to impress when it comes to movies. But American Sniper really drove home to me just what our men go through to protect us, and why. And it gave a little insight into the problems they face coming home, even when they make it home in one piece.
If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth taking the time to do so. A hero is a hero, whether on the page or on the screen, and Chris Kyle was one hero we can all be proud of. I’d wanted to see it anyway, but I mainly went to get a feel for what a sniper goes through because the book I’m working on (still!) has a former sniper in it. But I think it would be good inspiration for anyone who writes romance. It let you see the darker side of a good man, showed that even the best struggle with problems at times.
Have you seen it? If so, what did you think?