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US Navy SEAL Danny Dietz Memorial

Here are the background links (be sure to read the first two by Froggy):

There was a lot going on around the dedication of the memorial for Danny Dietz.  Here's a report from Froggy Rumminations and Blackfive reader, Nina, about the dedication:

Today is the 4th of July and all around the US and the world, Americans are celebrating and giving thanks for our freedoms. 

The other day I was wondering what to plan for my daughter and I to make today special and meaningful - along with the fun of watching fireworks tonight!   My decision was made when I saw an online article talking about the dedication of the statue of Danny Dietz.

I knew about his service and his sacrifice through reading Froggy's blog along with recent entrees in Matt's.  Thus, since we live in Denver, I wanted in some small way to say thanks to Danny, his family, and all who are serving.

We got to the park just after 9:30 am.  Already there were about 100 people there, not including the many Patriot Guard riders who had been standing guard over Danny's statue.   As time went on - the park slowly filled up.   I took a picture of the covered statue with our Flag standing next to it and a Navy guard alongside. 

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Something happened to show us all that this day was even more special. Three different times before the 11am ceremony started - 2 Bald Eagles slowly circled around above us.  It was if they knew what the gathering was about and they were standing guard as well.

Just before the ceremony I took another picture of a line of the Patriot Guard Riders standing from the corner of Berry and King all the way down the street - at least 2-3 blocks worth.  In my mind I termed it the Avenue of Flags because they were all holding an American Flag.

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As the ceremony started - I took a quick look around and estimated an incredibly large crowd had gathered. There were many Navy personnel in attendance as well as a few each of Marine, Air Force, and Army.  The crowd was amazing, not one bit of trouble from anyone.   Complete respect was offered by all.

The speakers were as follows:

The Honorable Donald C. Winter - Secretary of the Navy
Rear Admiral Joseph D. Kernan - Commander, Naval Special Warfare Command
U.S. Congressman Tom Tancredo
Medal of Honor Recipient Mike Thornton
Tiffany Bitz - Danny Dietz's sister

Secretary Winter spoke very highly of Danny's service and gave thanks to a community and Danny's family for being the kind of people to raise such a man.

Just after Secretary Winter finished - we had a flyover.  The timing was excellent and I was glad not only to get a good picture, but that my daughter saw it.

Admiral Kernan (sorry if I don't use rank correctly being a civilian) talked about Danny and what a SEAL likes - things like oatmeal (except he doesn't like his raw like Danny did), motorcycles, working out, striving to be your best, and most of all - exemplifying the SEAL ethos that was written so eloquently by someone of Danny's generation.  He read it and told us that all SEALs now carry it with them as well as sign their name to that as an oath. 

Congressman Tancredo told us that he couldn't think of anything better to give a speech on - that Danny's citation would say it all.  So, he read the citation to a very silent crowd who absorbed every word.

Mike Thornton - and the Admiral as well - got a HOAH from a couple of folks in the crowd as they talked about their team members.  Mike told us to remember who Danny was and remember that he died trying not to leave anyone behind.  Mike said that to this day he is not sure that he is deserving of the Medal of Honor - but that he will always remember those he served with and those he has come to know - like Danny.  We as well would be better for it to NEVER FORGET. 

Tiffany had me in tears with her speech.  The family, friends and community of Littleton have been so great to them.   She gave special recognition to the mother of one of Danny's teammates who died with him, and to the wife of one of the men who died trying to save them. She also gave recognition to the young man who is the first recipient of the Danny Dietz scholarship.  She told us that we need to live well and strive to be the best at whatever we do - never forgetting that our FREEDOM is the most important thing to cherish because that freedom gives us the opportunity in this country to attain whatever goal we set for ourselves.

A singer named Johnny Bulford sang a song he wrote called Remember The Brave.  It is an amazing song.  I can only hope that he will record it soon as it isn't on his website as of yet, and I've searched You Tube as well.   It is a song that resonates.  I plan to send a note through his website asking him to post the song.

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The statue, up close is amazing and inspiring.  I was glad to see it there and know - as a couple of the speakers said - including Danny's sister -that many school children from now on will walk by Danny's statue and learn about a true American, one we can all aspire and look up to.

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So - this 4th of July is an even better one because of today's dedication.  It was one way my daughter and I could say a heartfelt THANK YOU to Danny and to those are are and have served.  And, to remember with thanks those who gave their all.

Update: Mr Wolf sends the link to the Denver Post article about the memorial dedication. The whole piece is very good (so click the link and read it) but the ending line needs to get special attention:

...As the crowd dispersed from Berry Park, 12-year-old Zac Hardy of Centennial said Dietz fit his definition of a hero.

"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."

Amen, Zac, Amen...

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