Chris Kyle would have celebrated his 45th birthday on April 8th. The legendary Navy SEAL veteran, profiled in Clint Eastwood's Oscar-winning movie "American Sniper," was killed in 2013 at a shooting range by another veteran whom Kyle was helping work through post-traumatic stress.
Taya Kyle has kept her late husband's legacy alive through her books and work with the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation, an organization that aims to strengthen military and first responder marriages.
"American Spirit: Profiles in Resilience, Courage and Faith" has just been released and follows her autobiography "American Wife." Working again with writer Jim DeFelice (who also worked with Chris on his book "American Sniper"), Taya profiles and celebrates more than 30 Americans who are making a difference in their communities.
The stories of more than a few of the Americans she profiles could support an entire book on their own, but Kyle and DeFelice keep the chapters tight and focused. The book could easily be read as a month-long daily devotional.
She profiles a few big names such as "Lone Survivor" Marcus Luttrell, former Dallas Cowboy Jay Novacek, TV star and celebrity biker Jesse James and country superstar Zac Brown.
But the majority of the stories are about Americans whose names you're unlikely to already know.
There's a man who suffered burns over most of his body on 9/11. He's determined to make his life count after miraculously surviving his injuries. Another overcomes a hole in his heart to run ultramarathons. A cancer victim opened a lemonade stand and managed to inspire a new model for fighting the disease. There's even a pastor who becomes an undercover investigator.
Kyle's own profound grief after her husband's death has inspired her to use her own life to reach out to others. "American Spirit" tells the stories of the men and women she's met and who have inspired her to work for a better world.
As Taya writes, "Every action, big or small, has the potential to spark someone else's movement."