Earlier this week I had the honor of attending the Dallas premiere and screening of American Sniper, which opens in cities everywhere today.
If you're not familiar, American Sniper is based on the life and legacy of Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, who served four tours in Iraq and is credited with being the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history. The movie is produced by Warner Brothers, is directed by Clint Eastwood and is up for six Oscar nominations. Actor Bradley Cooper does a phenomenal job bringing Kyle to life onscreen and actress Sienna Miller, who plays Kyle's wife Taya, was impressive in her role.
"[Chris] is someone I will love my whole life, deeply. He changed my life, changed my world truly to my soul. I feel like God put us together for a very good reason and has changed me not only in Chris' life but in his death I've continued to grow and I feel to be a better person," Taya Kyle said during remarks at the event.
Walking into the theater was absolutely incredible. Men and women from The Patriot Guard Riders lined the red carpet and held American flags. The patriotism present was overwhelming and properly served the memory of Kyle, who was born and raised in Texas. Tickets to the special screening were sold to the general public (and quickly sold out) as benefit for the new Chris Kyle Foundation, which is dedicated to serving military and first responder families.
"To have you here and join with me in kicking off the Foundation that represents all that Chris stood for, all that I stand for, to represent the care that the community feels for military marriages, the tagline if you haven't seen it is basically 'God and Country, honoring both to serve families who serve and that's for our first responders and our veterans," Kyle said. "This foundation is very near and dear to my heart because it doesn't just isolate one group of people, it really is to serve all those families who serve this country both at home and abroad."
(Taya Kyle talks to the press on the red carpet)
(Bradley Cooper talks to press on the red carpet)
(Taya Kyle leads a prayer inside the theater before the movie is started)
Although American Sniper is certainly about relentlessly fighting an enemy, which goes uncensored in the movie, the message it delivers about the sacrifices made by real military families across the country and the toll war takes on soldiers who deploy is the main and most important message. War is hell, but the men and women of the U.S. military give us hope for better future here at home.
I'm not going to go into details here about the film, because describing it doesn't do it justice and you should go see it, but I am grateful Clint Eastwood and Warner Brothers made the decision to produce this movie and I'm grateful to Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller for taking on the high pressure job of fulfilling roles that accurately portray the Kyle family.
"It really is [that] authentic. It just feels like our life, and it's happy and beautiful and painful all at once," Taya Kyle said to reporters on the red carpet. "I love being in Texas and having all of our people here and to have Bradley give his time to do it too is really special and Warner Brother's letting us promote our Chris Kyle Frog Foundation is really special. I feel really blessed."
American Sniper will give you chills, make you cry and will leave you proud. Go see it, it comes out today.