The headstone for the late Navy SEAL Chris Kyle has been in the works for quite some time, leaving many who visited his grave over the past few years to wonder when it would finally be completed. The wait is finally over, as the monument was unveiled this past week at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin, Texas during a small ceremony with friends and family. The headstone was designed by his wife Taya and their two children, and includes their hand prints, a Navy SEAL trident, and a sculpture of Chris. The stone itself is over six feet tall and made of a rich black and green granite. Gilbert Beall, the artist who created Chris Kyle’s headstone, was interviewed by a local news station:
It can take a family several years to decide what they want on a monument and to decide how it will look. In Kyle’s case, Taya Kyle and Beall met shortly after Kyle was killed to begin working on his monument.
Beall said right away, Taya knew she wanted to use emerald pearl granite, a green granite that can appear black depending on the time of the day.
Initially, they discussed doing a three-dimensional bronze cast of Taya’s hands, her son’s hands and her daughter’s hands on Taya’s side of the marker. However, ultimately they decided to do an inlay of the three sets of hands, “so people can walk up and put their hands on her hands,” said Beall.
In the center of the monument will be a carved Navy SEAL trident and the words “God. Country. Family.” On the left side under Chris’ name will be a bronze relief of Kyle in his military combat uniform, an image Beall worked for months to perfect.
“It’s more than just working from the photos,” said Beall, who used a model and former active duty combat veteran to wear clothes and equipment like Kyle wore in combat.
Specifically, the model wore a scarf around his neck like Kyle was known for always wearing and a bulletproof vest. The scarf and vest will be a part of Kyle’s relief.
One thing missing from Kyle’s relief? Facial hair, despite the many pictures of Kyle with it.
“He doesn’t have the beard. His wife liked him better clean-shaven,” said Beall.
On the back of the monument, which is within the Texas State Cemetery’s requirements to be a maximum of six feet tall and seven feet wide, is a cross under the name “Kyle” etched on the top.
On the bottom of the middle section in the back is an excerpt from Chris and Taya’s wedding vows: “I will love you and show you my love all the days of my life.”
The Texas State Cemetery is reserved for only a select few, such as the heroes who have served their nation or the state of Texas like Chris Kyle did. Walking through the cemetery, you will also find several Medal of Honor recipients, men who fought for Texas independence and in the American Revolution, as well as many significant Texas political figures. The cemetery director reported that his grave is visited the most of all of the heroes laid to rest there.
Images within the gallery are courtesy of the author