If you have not ventured out to the Chris Kyle memorial situated near Mission Fitness and the VA Clinic area off of what was called Highway 191 you are missing out.
Take the short drive on what is now called the Chris Kyle Memorial Highway and get out of the car and look around and know that your friends and neighbors came up with this beautiful area, raised the money for it and built it.
The statue is a lovely testament to how quickly Odessans came together to create and finance an impressive memorial. Kyle, the veteran of “American Sniper” fame, was born in Odessa.
The 2,800 square-foot Chris Kyle Memorial Plaza, made of granite and Texas limestone, is near the Veterans’ Clinic on the property of Medical Center Hospital.
On Tuesday, Kyle’s widow, Taya Kyle, joined state and local dignitaries at the memorial as Highway 191 was renamed after her late husband.
Ector County’s stretch of Highway 191 was officially named in honor of the decorated Navy SEAL veteran and sniper “I thought it was such a beautiful addition to this memorial plaza,” Taya Kyle said, just behind the statue of her late husband after Tuesday’s ceremony.
The statue was first unveiled in July 2016 at the memorial plaza and now, a sign aside the highway near the Midland County line, along with an opposite sign at the intersection of 42nd Street and Kermit Highway to the west, stand naming the stretch of 191 after the famed veteran whose autobiography “American Sniper” became a best-seller and was being adapted into the movie of the same name before his death in 2013.
State Rep. Brooks Landgraf and State Sen. Kel Seliger also spoke at the dedication Tuesday, after Landgraf pushed a bill to dedicate the highway through the Texas House of Representatives last year, before Seliger pushed the bill through the Texas Senate.
“He’s a native son of Odessa, a true American hero, and we wanted the highway that runs next to the Chris Kyle Memorial Plaza to also bear his name,” Landgraf said.
We thank both Seliger and Landgraf for the work they put in to make this happen.
We also thank the committee that worked hard to put together the plans and financing for the memorial, which celebrates not just Kyle but all veterans.
Taya Kyle said she was glad to be back, and glad that the statue’s unveiling wasn’t the end of the memorial project, but that the project has carried on and continues to grow. She also pointed out that it is a place of healing for all veterans.
“I really appreciate the people of Odessa,” Taya Kyle said. “I think they’ve gone above and beyond. They wanted to do a statue but they’ve gone above and beyond with the whole plaza — the way they’re planning on lighting it up, and having the highway, and being next to a center for wellness.
Those interested in the Chris Kyle Memorial Committee’s projects can learn more by contacting the Odessa Community Foundation at 432-332-9111, or by visiting OdessaChamber.com/Chris-Kyle-Memorial.