Texans turn out to say goodbye to ‘American sniper’ Chris Kyle

Crowds line an overpass as the motorcades passes through Wago. (Photo by the Waco Herald-Tribune)

Crowds line an overpass as the motorcade passes through Waco. (Photo by the Waco Tribune-Herald)

By Kathryn Jones

Editor

The funeral procession for slain Navy SEAL and sniper Chris Kyle left his hometown of Midlothian this morning and by 11 a.m. had reached Temple on its way to Austin, where Kyle will be laid to rest today at the Texas State Cemetery.

Law enforcement authorities warn drivers that they may encounter heavy traffic on Interstate 35, where an estimated 100,000 have turned out to pay their respects to Kyle. They are lining overpass bridges, access roads and waving flags and banners.

Clint Burgess, a constable in Mansfield and a close friend of Kyle’s, said in a telephone call from the procession that he’s never seen anything like it.

“It’s beyond explanation,” Burgess said. “I’ve never seen so many people lining the entire highway, bringing the families and dogs and kids and schools bringing out students to see this.”

Burgess said it has rained heavily at times during the morning, but that hasn’t kept people from coming out.

“It’s cold, it’s horrible weather especially for the motorcycle police cops,” he added.

Kyle’s family members are in the procession, as are others who knew Kyle closely, such as Scott McEwen, the co-author of Kyle’s bestselling book American Sniper that spoke of the estimated 150 to 160 Iraqis that Kyle killed using his marksmanship skills, earning him the nickname of “The Legend” from his fellow Navy SEALs.

The procession is expected to arrive in Austin by noon and travel through the city to the cemetery. The graveside service will be private and the streets around the cemetery will be closed, the City of Austin said in a news release.

Highway officials ask that people who want to show their support do so by using frontage roads and overpasses instead of the main roadways. They also ask that no signs or banners be affixed or anything be hung over overpass railings.

Security around the procession is tight, with armed officers surrounded the motorcade. Kyle’s memorial service at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington on Monday drew about 7,000 people.

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