Flags not lowered to honor American hero

When+U.S.+Navy+SEAL+Chris+Kyle+was+shot+and+killed+at+a+Texas+shooting+range+early+this+month%2C+Governor+Rick+Perry+did+not+order+flags+to+be+flown+at+half-mast.+While+the+nation+hung+their+heads+in+grief%2C+flags+remained+flying+high.+Many+believe+the+correct+honor+and+respect+was+not+given+to+this+American+hero.+Photo+by+Nikki+Dabney.+

When U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle was shot and killed at a Texas shooting range early this month, Governor Rick Perry did not order flags to be flown at half-mast. While the nation hung their heads in grief, flags remained flying high. Many believe the correct honor and respect was not given to this American hero. Photo by Nikki Dabney.

When U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle was shot and killed at a Texas shooting range early this month, Governor Rick Perry did not order flags to be flown at half-mast. While the nation hung its head in grief, flags remained flying high. Many believe the proper honor and respect was not given to this American hero. Photo by Nikki Dabney.
When U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle was shot and killed at a Texas shooting range early this month, Governor Rick Perry did not order flags to be flown at half-mast. While the nation hung its head in grief, flags remained flying high. Many believe the proper honor and respect was not given to this American hero. Photo by Nikki Dabney.

By Nikki Dabney

Staff Writer

When our nation suffers from a tragedy or loss of an American hero, all government buildings, public schools and military bases are ordered to fly their flags at half-staff. This is a symbolic way for the country to grieve and show its respect.

When Texan U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, known as the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history, was shot and killed at a Texas shooting range on Feb. 2, flags were not flown at half-mast.

Despite a good deal of public support for the gesture, Governor Rick Perry did not issue a proclamation directing flags to be flown at half-staff statewide on the day of Kyle’s memorial service or funeral.

On the other hand, when pop star Whitney Houston passed away last February after drowning in her bathtub due to the “effects of atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use,” the governor of New Jersey (the state in which she resided), Chris Christie directed all flags to be flown at half-staff in her honor.

“She was a cultural icon in this state and her accomplishments in her life were a source of great pride for many people in this state and for this state as a whole,” Christie said. “On that basis, I think she’s entitled to have that recognition made for her.”

President Barack Obama has also yet to release a statement regarding Kyle’s death, but his condolences were expressed after Houston’s.

While many Americans are outraged over this controversy, it is a little more personal to me. Last summer, Kyle visited and spoke at my church, Fellowship Church in Grapevine. I saw him with my own eyes. I was just rows away from him, and now he’s gone.

Kyle really impacted me. He helped me understand how being a soldier is the ultimate form of Christianity. The discipline. The sacrifice. The servitude. It is what all Christ followers strive to do.

“Christianity isn’t about passivity,” Kyle said. “Serve those who have served us.”

Although Kyle is remembered as the sniper with the most kills, I remember him as a man who loved his wife, loved his country and most of all loved God.

“I would love to be known for how many people I’ve saved,” Kyle said.

Our government officials’ responses show the backward values of America. We idolize performers, athletes and movie stars, and don’t know the names of pastors or soldiers – those who have made a difference in this world – until they pass away, or never at all.

We pity a girl who abused substances and caused her own death while wiping away the fact that Kyle was murdered. We cry over Houston’s daughter, left with millions of dollars in her name, but forget about the sacrifice Kyle had to make by leaving his family and serving his country.

Celebrities’ quotes circulate like wildfire, but statements about God and obedience are considered offensive. Should we really listen to and follow these celebrities who are some of the most lost and insecure people there are? I don’t think so.

We should turn to men like Kyle who have served something greater than themselves, saved lives and who understand what life is truly about. Not only should we respect these kinds of people when they are living, but we should honor them when they are gone.