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On Sunday (September 24), a large number of NFL players took a knee or otherwise showed signs of protest when the National Anthem played prior to their games. These players were met with overwhelming backlash, with many critics saying the protests were disrespectful to anyone who has ever served in the military.
In recent history, one of the U.S.’s most notable military figures was “American Sniper” Chris Kyle. The decorated Navy SEAL veteran served a total of four tours in Iraq before he returned home to Texas.
Four years after Chris was honorably discharged from the Navy, he was killed by a former Marine with PTSD named Eddie Ray Routh. The two were at a shooting range, where Eddie also killed Chris’ friend Chad Littlefield. Eddie was found guilty of killing the two men, and was sentenced to life in prison.
Over a year after his death, Chris’ life story was portrayed in the Academy Award-winning film American Sniper, which was based on his autobiography. Through that film, viewers also got the chance to know his wife, Taya, who later released her own autobiography, American Wife: A Memoir of Love, Service, Faith, and Renewal.
In 2014, Taya established the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation in her husband’s honor. The organization helps provide support to veterans and their families, with its mission being “to honor God, Country, and families who serve by providing experiences that strengthen military and first responder marriages and families.”
Being the widow of such a notable figure in recent military history, Taya felt the need to speak out about the National Anthem protests at the NFL games. She wrote an open letter to the organization, saying how it used to represent a sense of togetherness:
“Football was really a metaphor for our ideal world –different backgrounds, talents, political beliefs and histories as one big team with one big goal – to do well, to win, TOGETHER.”
She then called on the players themselves, urging them to put in some work toward making a difference. She cited her own experience as the founder of the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation as an example of how she feels hard work can make a true impact in the world:
“If you ever want to get off your knees and get to work on building bridges, let me know. I have found screaming about the problems in service marriages or even standing in silence in front of them, hasn’t healed even one of them. On the other hand, funding the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation, building a team and rolling up my sleeves to get in the trenches during my ‘off time’ -volunteering there outside of my paying jobs – has proven to make real change.”
You can read Taya’s full letter to the NFL below.
What do you think of what Taya had to say in her letter? Do you agree with her? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.