STATUE OF HERO IN LITTLETON CRITICIZED
NAVY SEAL DANNY DIETZ, killed two years ago in Afghanistan while defending our freedom , is being honored with a statue in his hometown of Littleton, Colorado , to be placed in the neighborhood where he grew up, across from the elementary school he attended. Dietz was also awarded the prestigious Navy Cross for “extraordinary heroism in actions against the enemy.
All is not well however, as “concerned citizens” object to placement of the monument because it depicts—gasp—a soldier with a gun. After all, in the eyes of children, “it’s just a nine-foot guy with a gun.” The town is also the site of the infamous Columbine High School shootings in 1999, a “stigma” for Littleton “whether they like it or not,” said one parent who objects to the statue.
Fortunately , most Littleton citizens are more reasonable than the naysayers. “If they object to children seeing guns, they better object to every TV in the house. They’ll see more guns there than anywhere else,” said one local supporter
July 4, 2007
LITTLETON, Colo. -- July Fourth was a special day in Littleton.
Residents there honored a hometown hero who died fighting in the War on Terror.
Danny Dietz was a Navy SEAL working on a special operation in Afghanistan. He and three other SEALS were searching for high level terrorist leaders when they were ambushed by more than 40 taliban fighters.
A rescue crew sent in to save the SEALS was shot out of the sky. It was the single largest single loss of life for the elite Navy unit since World War II.
"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."
Nearly 2,000 people, including Secretary of the Navy Donald Winter, Rear Admiral Joseph Kernan of Naval Special Warfare Command, and U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo joined Dietz's family and Littleton officials at the unveiling.
"Gunner's Mate 2nd Class Danny Dietz was with us for only 25 years, but Danny's short life was touched with greatness," said Winter.
After his death, Dietz was awarded the Navy Cross, the Navy's second-highest medal.
The statue, in Littleton's Berry Park, is based on a photo taken of Dietz shortly before his death.
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."
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," he said.
When asked what the statue means to her, Dietz's mom, Cindy, said, "It means the world to me."
The statue is just a few blocks from the Dietz's home.
His father Dan said, "We're going to ride our bicycles down here, and just come down and reflect."
Tiffany said she'd rather come to Berry Park than go to the cemetery. "This is a wonderful place for me to come and remember my brother and not have to look at a gravestone and have that ache."
The young hero's wife, Patsy, said the large crowd at the unveiling was heartwarming. "Danny fought for all these people ... they understand our pain, and they're here for us."
Among those joining the Dietz family at the unveiling were Erin Taylor, whose husband Jeffrey was among the crew trying to rescue Dietz; Donna Axelson, whose son Matthew was a fellow SEAL; and Debbie Lee whose son was the first Navy SEAL killed in Iraq.
Update quoted from 7News, TheDenverChannel.com
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