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Kyle joins millions in seeing 'American Sniper'

Staff writer

She did it and she’s glad she did.

Joyce Kyle, 87, of Burns was one of millions of people who viewed “American Sniper” over the holiday weekend. The record-setting movie is based on a book written by her grandson, Chris Kyle, who served four tours of duty in Afghanistan as a Navy SEAL sharpshooter and was killed after he retired.

She said several people warned her that it would not be good for her health to see the movie. But she knew she had to see it. Her nephew Bob Kyle and family of Peabody took her with them to see it Sunday at Chisholm Trail Theater in Newton.

“I couldn’t sleep the night before,” she said, “but I’m glad I went.”

The movie brought back memories. Chris and his younger brother spent time on their grandparents’ farm as youngsters.

“When I saw Chris in the movie, I could picture him playing in the pig pen with the little pigs and coming in all dirty,” she said.

She thought the movie followed the book. She kept her emotions in check until the end, she said, when it portrayed the funeral, the funeral procession, and the burial, which she attended.

“That got to me,” she said.

Afterward, a few people in the audience who knew her approached her and praised her grandson.

She recently talked to her son, Wayne, Chris’s father, who graduated from Peabody-Burns High School. He told her he and his wife have been overwhelmed with calls. He has caller ID and is selective as to which he responds. She didn’t think he would respond to a call from the newspaper.

“They are looking forward to the day when life will return to normal,” she said.

Kyle visited the Burns library on Saturday, and the librarian showed her a video clip of her son being interviewed by Sean Hannity on Fox News.

“I was glad to see it,” she said. “He admitted they were overwhelmed.”

Some people are calling the blockbuster movie a “cultural phenomenon.” Directed by Clint Eastwood, it produced $105 million in revenue over a four-day period. His previous weekend record was $29.5 million for the 2008 “Gran Torino.” The previous top-grossing Martin Luther King weekend release was last year’s “Ride Along” with $48.6 million.

It was reported that actor Bradley Cooper, who played Chris Kyle, talked to him about a movie two days before he was shot. Joyce Kyle said she thought her grandson didn’t want to do it.

“He would think it shouldn’t have been done,” she said. “He didn’t want that notoriety. He wanted people to think of the lives he saved rather than the lives he took out.”

Last modified Jan. 22, 2015

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