Real life "American Sniper" widow, Taya Kyle, penned a heartfelt message to her late husband, Chris Kyle, on what would have been their 13th wedding anniversary.
In a touching Facebook post the 40-year-old single mom of two described her former Navy SEAL husband as a hopeless romantic who enjoyed showering her with gifts. Chris, widely considered to be the most lethal sniper in U.S. history for having 160 confirmed kills, was tragically killed on Feb. 2, 2013, by former Marine Eddie Ray Routh, but his memory lives forever in Taya's heart.
"It's 13 years today. Our wedding anniversary. I miss you and I love you," Taya began. "I feel you in my heart and soul so strongly. I am more blessed to have been your wife than anything else in my life."
The Oregon native, who opened up about life after the death of her husband in her forthcoming memoir American Wife: A Memoir of Love, Service, Faith, and Renewal, was instantly captivated by Chris after their first date in 2001 and they went on to wed a year later. Their tragic love story inspired Hollywood filmmaker Clint Eastwood's Academy Award-nominated film "American Sniper," which is based on Chris' 2012 best-selling autobiography of the same name.
"Today, I have a choice," continued Taya. "I can bury myself under the covers and acknowledge the pain of missing you and mourn the future anniversaries without you. Or, I can celebrate never having a day without you in my heart because you loved me enough to leave me a lifetime of memories and beauty. I am somewhere in between today."
Chris, who was 38 when he was fatally shot by Eddie at a Texas gun range, served four tours in Iraq before he left the military in 2009 to focus on his family. He later became an advocate for veterans' mental health and he shared two children with Taya.
"... If I didn't tell you enough in life, then let me tell you today... YOU Chris Kyle, are IT for me. YOU are the package deal who makes hanging on worth it," she wrote.
The heartwarming post comes days after Clint declared his box office hit "anti-war" while speaking to students at Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television in Los Angeles last week. The film scored a total of six Academy Award nominations and set a box office record by pulling in $105 million during its opening weekend.
"I think it's nice for veterans, because it shows what they go through, and that life and the wives and families of veterans. It has a great indication of the stresses they are under. And I think that all adds up to kind of an anti-war [message]," Clint said of his hit film.
"I was not a big fan of going to war in Iraq or Afghanistan for several reasons, several practical reasons," he continued. "The British had never been successful [in Afghanistan], the Russians had 10 years there and hadn't been successful and so we think we're going to go over there and we can't even fly in directly and we're going to ... you know, it has to have some thought process added into it. Iraq, I know, was a different deal because there was a lot of intelligence that told us that bad things could happen there and we're never sure how that ended up whether it was pro or con or no, I tend to err on the side of less is best."
In Jan., controversial filmmaker Michael Moore ruffled feathers and sparked debates about war when he referred to snipers as "cowards" in a tweet, without directly referring to the film. The post instantly garnered backlash from conservative talking heads such as Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin who both condemned the tweet while praising Chris as a war hero.
In an interview with People magazine, Taya dismissed criticism directed at her late husband and said that he should be remembered for having fought for the freedom of his country.
"There's an inaccurate stereotype of these guys, that they love war," Taya, 40, said. "I can promise you, they don't love war. But they do love that fight for what they would say is justice for each other."
Last month Eddie, who pleaded "not guilty" to charges by reason of insanity, was convicted of capital murder in the deaths of Chris and his friend Chad Littlefield. Texas Judge Jason Cashon immediately sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole.