July 05, 2007

Navy SEAL Danny Dietz Memorial Unveiled

"Enduring inspiration to generations of patriots to come"

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Navy SEAL Danny Dietz January 26, 1980-June 28, 2005--photo courtesy of The Daily Blogster (more pics, reflections at the link), himself to deploy (US Navy) tomorrow. The Rocky Mountain News has a touching slide show.

--"He was an incredible man that did a great sacrifice for this state and for all of us. Not just for me and my family, but for the whole country."--Patsy Dietz, Danny's wife

--"I guess the thing I wonder most as I stand up here and think about Danny," Rear Admiral Joseph Kernan said. "I wonder if I could be as brave as Danny Dietz was over two years ago. Just as every SEAL; everyone would like to be."

--"It's one thing to say you love your country," he said. "It's a whole different level to be willing to die for it. That's a hero."--12-year-old Zac Hardy of Centennial

--Approximately 2000 attended, including Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter; Rear Adm. Joseph D. Kernan, head of the Naval Special Warfare Command; Medal of Honor recipient Mike Thornton; Rep. Tom Tancredo:
"On the fourth of July 2005, my family received the horrifying news that my brother had been killed in action," said Tiffany Bitz, Dietz's sister. "Two years later, this day marks the unveiling of the statue of my hero, my brother D.J."
. . .
"Gunner's Mate 2nd Class Danny Dietz was with us for only 25 years," Secretary Winter said, "but Danny's short life was touched with greatness."
. . .
Admiral Kernan said the memorial is a reflection of more than just an incredible human being. "This memorial is just as much a reflection on an incredible family and on an incredible country."

Rep. Tancredo echoed that sentiment. "The Dietz's are salt of the earth. They are just wonderful. I'm not surprised that they were the ones who raised a child like Danny Dietz."

When asked what the statue means to her, Dietz's mom Cindy said, "It means the world to me."

Danny Dietz memorial sculpture

Local news roundup:
Coverage from CBS4 (video):

Dietz' wife remembers fallen hero's sacrifice (video):
"He told me before he left to not cry and worry because he was going to make a difference out there and it was his time to make that difference," Patsy said.

Patsy said Danny lived for this type of a challenge. It was the way of the Navy SEALS.

"To them, they're invincible, nobody can take them down. That's the mentality that makes them different from everybody else," said Patsy.

Patsy said she knew anything could happen, and when it did, she knew Danny died trying to save others.

"He gave his last breath fighting evil out there," she said.
. . .
"There is not one thing that I regret. Even the same day I got the news, the same day I buried him, I don't regret (anything). It just made me a better person and stronger," Patsy said. "He was an incredible man that did a great sacrifice for this state and for all of us. Not just for me and my family, but for the whole country."
A poignant reminder of the sacrifices made daily by soldiers and their families now and throughout American history. This same spirit brought us freedom 231 years ago.

Rolling Thunder stands guard over Danny Dietz' memorial.

Veterans stood guard before the statue was unveiled--to prevent vandalism:
A veterans' group plans to stand guard around the memorial set to be unveiled on the Fourth of July in honor of a Navy Seal from Littleton until it is dedicated Wednesday. The statue of Danny Dietz holding a gun will remember his service after the 9/11 attacks and his death during an attack by Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.

There has been some controversy surrounding the statue since it depicts Dietz holding a gun. The veterans' group, Rolling Thunder, doesn't believe opponents would deface the statue, but are standing guard to provide protection and respect.

"Just to make sure nobody comes along and tries to deface it, tear down the fence or anything of that nature," said Don Marsh of Rolling Thunder.
Thankfully those who opposed the statue were greatly outnumbered:
The city of Littleton said support for the statue has been overwhelming.

"People from all over the United States contacted us," said Kelli Narde, a spokeswoman for Littleton. "Six-hundred were in support and 10 opposed to it."

Some opponents said the design of the statue with Dietz holding a gun is graphic and violent. Others called it real.

"The people here in Denver, frankly throughout the U.S. rallying to a cause such as this, has been very impressive, very impressive," said Dan Puleio of U.S. Navy Recruiting.
It's sad that a few moonbats would oppose such an honor--a realistic depiction of the role Dietz played as a soldier--and present a threat to the statue. Once the crowds disperse and Rolling Thunder rolls off, however, it will remain to be seen what types of reaction the statue evokes, and any possible defacement it might incur.

CaƱon City sculptor Robert Henderson based his clay form of Navy SEAL Danny Dietz on the last photo taken of him. (Courtesy Tracy Harmon)

Positive reinforcement--let the city of Littleton know how you feel about the statue honoring a brave fallen American.

A video tribute to Danny Dietz.

Navy SEAL Danny Dietz Memorial Sculpture Dedication July 4
Colorado Flies Front Line Flag, Honors Fallen SEAL Danny Dietz
Colorado Statue Honoring Fallen Navy SEAL Opposed, "Glorifies Violence"

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