AUSTIN, Texas (CN) - Monday was "Chris Kyle Day" in Texas this year, Governor Greg Abbott said, in honor of the Navy SEAL veteran who killed more than 160 people in Iraq.
Abbott declared Feb. 2 Chris Kyle Day on Friday, at the Texans Veterans of Foreign Wars convention.
Kyle, who was shot to death at a shooting range by a troubled veteran he was trying to help, is the subject of the hit movie "American Sniper."
Directed by Clint Eastwood and nominated for the Oscar for Best Picture this year, "American Sniper" has taken in more than $200 million in the United States.
"In honor of a Texas son, a Navy SEAL and an American hero, a man who defended his brothers and sisters in arms on and off the battlefield, I am declaring February 2nd Chris Kyle Day in Texas," Abbott told the VFW convention. "We will commemorate his passing. But more importantly, remembering his answering of the call of duty."
Kyle had 160 "confirmed kills" during his four tours of duty in Iraq - more than any other sniper in U.S. history. He was awarded two Silver Stars, five Bronze Stars and numerous other combat awards. After being honorably discharged in 2009, he wrote a bestselling autobiography, "American Sniper," which was published in January 2012.
He was shot to death on Feb. 2, 2013, at a Texas shooting range, by another veteran suffering from PTSD. Kyle's friend Chad Littlefield also was killed. Their alleged killer, Eddie Ray Routh, is awaiting trial.
In his speech to the VFW, Abbott called on President Obama to keep his promise to build a new VA hospital in the Rio Grande Valley.