Two families, hundreds of community members, friends, colleagues and many more who never knew honored the lives of two men in recent days.
Chris Kyle, 38, and Chad Littlefield, 35, were on a mission to help a military veteran struggling with mental illness when something went horribly wrong on Saturday, Feb. 2. They were shot and killed at a gun range at Rough Creek Lodge by a man police say they were trying to help.
As a nation struggled to come to terms with their deaths, they also became acquainted with how they impacted those who knew them. As mourners gathered in two cities at two separate memorial services, it was not their deaths that were remembered - it was the lives they lived.
Both men shared a friendship that led them into their final days. They also shared a need to lend a helping hand.
On Friday, hundreds of mourners gathered in Midlothian to honor a man called a hard-worker and simple, yet smart man, with a sense of humor that could light up a room.
He was a long-time resident of Ellis County and a manager of a local manufacturing company. He had unwavering respect for the military.
“Chad was beside his friend, Chris Kyle, both doing what they enjoyed most, helping those who were down and out, when they left this world,” Senior Pastor of Ovilla Road Baptist Church Drew Erickson said at his funeral.
Kenny Lowman, pastor of FBC Midlothian, talked about how Littlefield had been deep in his faith, sharing it and the need for salvation with everyone he met.
Those words echoed in his obituary.
"His family and friends would tell you he was a 'rock,' always there when you needed him, dependable and responsible, ready to grab you in his arms to let you know he loved you and everything would be all right," his obituary states. "If Chad were here right now, he would look you straight in the eyes, with a big smile on his face, and tell you, 'Trust my Lord and Savior with your life and eternity.'"
Littlefield leaves behind a wife and daughter.
Days later, on Monday, thousands of people gathered to honor Kyle, an Navy SEAL who served four tours of duty in Iraq and eventually traded his life as an American hero for one of a husband, father and friend.
He was heralded as the deadliest sniper in U.S. history and co-authored the book "American Sniper." He made a career of training police and military personnel, and helped fund an organization that provides assistance to military veterans struggling with post traumatic stress disorder.
Those facts about his life were on display at a public memorial service at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington where the signs and symbols of a fallen hero marked his career in the military and his personal creed echoed through the crowd.
A fellow Navy SEAL said Kyle’s big Texas heart guided him.
“Through his faith in God he transformed himself from a battled hardened warrior to a friend, father and husband. Chris will live on in those who knew him. He was funny, bold and unconscionable,” the SEAL said. “He will silently watch over his family. Legends never die, and his spirit will live on forever.”
Kyle’s wife, Taya, addressed the crowd of about 7,000 mourners and spoke to the memory of the husband she will never see again.
“Chris – there is not enough time to tell you how much you mean to me. You have taught me how turn a life full of fear into a life full of faith. You taught me that I could forgive more deeply. You taught me that I am okay just the way I am,” she said, wiping back the tears. “You have shown me in life and in death that some people are always with you.”
She also spoke on behalf of their children, whose words were spelled out across the program presented to memorial attendees.
"I never wanted you to die. I will miss your heart. Love you forever, Baby Girl," the program said.
"I miss you a lot. One of the best things that has happened to me is you. I love you Dad. I always will. Love Bubba," it read.
Lancaster resident Eddie Routh, 25, has been charged with capital murder for the double homicide and is being held in Erath County Jail on a $3 million bond.
Aaron Schwaderer and Andrew Branca with the Waxahachie Daily Light contributed to this report.