I’ll admit it… I am easily drawn by the beautiful dresses and hearing what the well-known actors have to say during the Oscars or any other Hollywood awards night. It’s all a bit rehearsed and unnatural, and at times down right annoying, but hey, I’m only human. My eyes are drawn to all the colors and styles of the dresses and my mind is curious to know a little bit more about the people I watch in the movies.
This past Sunday’s Oscars ceremony brought a whole new level of meaning to the event for me. As I passively watched the red-carpet ceremony, half-browsing Facebook and half-trying to figure out which dress I liked the best, I was stopped in a moment as I glanced at the television and saw Chris Kyle’s wife, Taya, speaking with ABC’s Robin Roberts. “That’s her,” I thought. “That’s the wife of Chris Kyle, a man who’d give his life in an instant for his country, a man who succeeded, struggled, and still was determined to give back to this country and his fellow veterans. That’s the woman who had to face the death of her husband, has to raise her kids without their father, and must face the devastation of a trial for his murder, yet was brave enough to help Hollywood make a movie out of his story. That’s her, at the Oscars.”
In comparison to those around her, it would seem that Taya Kyle was just a “guest” at this grandiose event created for Hollywood’s finest. But to me, she was the most significant person in attendance. She was the one all cameras should have been pointing toward, not because of what she was wearing but because of what she represents—American military members who have given all fighting for our freedom, the families who have lost their service members and must endure the rest of their lives without them, the bravery that resides in the men and women who sign over their lives because they believe in the greatness of our country, the spouses who bear the difficulties and fear of knowing their loved ones are fighting a war.
If you ask me, Taya Kyle was most deserving of an award that night. She spoke fondly of her husband, saying that he would be “blown away” by the outpouring of support for and success of the movie American Sniper. She went on to say, “I am here…to represent my husband, military families and the beautiful people who put more than they had to make this movie happen…It’s by the Grace of God and the support of people like you who literally give me the energy to get out of bed each day and see the beauty through the ashes of my life. I hope the same for all of you. We all struggle and we all have to find the strength to fight another day. I know I am not alone. The details may be different but our stories of fighting on, finding the strength to help ourselves and accepting the help of others when we can.”
I learned the next morning that Taya was carrying her husband’s dog tags in her hand throughout the night. She brought him with her, showing him the legacy he left behind. That right there is beauty, that is admiration. That to me, is who the real award goes to. I’m so glad that Taya Kyle found the strength to accept her invitation to the Oscars, because I guarantee her presence touched so many of those who were watching. Though she may have felt like a mess amidst a very difficult time in her life, I am sure that everyone, especially other military wives, saw nothing but grace and dignity emanating from her as she walked down that red carpet, clinging to those dog tags and representing her husband’s commitment to America’s freedom.