Chris Kyle Day declared in Texas to honor SEAL of 'American Sniper' movie fame
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Friday he would officially declare Feb. 2 as Chris Kyle Day in the state, in honor of the late SEAL sharpshooter portrayed in the film “American Sniper.”
The movie, starring Bradley Cooper as Kyle, has been a box office hit as well as a flashpoint of debate between liberals and conservatives.
Abbott, a Republican, made the announcement during a speech at the Texans Veterans of Foreign Affairs Mid-Winter Convention in Austin.
“In honor of a Texas son, a Navy SEAL and an American hero — a man who defended his brothers and sisters in arms on and off the battlefield — I am declaring February 2 Chris Kyle Day in Texas,” Abbott said during the speech.
Kyle died Feb. 2, 2013, at a Texas gun range, where he and a friend were shot and killed while trying to help a fellow veteran struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder.
A trial for Eddie Ray Rough, the gunman accused of killing Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield, is scheduled to begin Feb. 9, according to the Dallas Morning News.
The film has been nominated for six Academy Awards, including best picture. It led a Reuters/IPSOS poll of roughly 2,400 Americans who were asked which film should win the top Oscar.
At the same time, critics have said the film glorifies war and sanitizes Kyle, who called Muslims “savages” in his memoir.
If box office estimates hold, the film will make about $250 million by Sunday, and the highest Super Bowl weekend grosser of all time, Variety reported.