Posted by Curt on 15 July, 2005 at 7:44 pm. 2 comments already!

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. – John 15:13

Navy SEAL Danny Dietz was laid to rest today:

Navy SEAL Danny P. Dietz Jr., 25, was buried at Fort Logan National Cemetery, a few miles from where he graduated from Heritage High School in Littleton.

Maria Paz Leveque Dietz, wife of Navy SEAL Danny P. Dietz Jr.

Maria Paz Leveque Dietz, wife of Navy SEAL Danny P. Dietz Jr.

A gunner’s mate serving his second hitch, Dietz died June 28 in Afghanistan, although his body was not recovered until the Fourth of July. He was mourned Thursday as a hero who fought to the end to defend himself and his three commando teammates surrounded at nightfall in mountains.

“I think he wouldn’t have wanted to die any other way but being a hero,” said Melody Dominguez, of Denver, a cousin. “That was what DJ would have wanted,” calling him by his nickname, formed from the “D” in the first name and the “J” in Jr.

Dietz was honored as a fallen warrior, in the full pomp of formalized grief and gleaming gold braid of a military funeral. But speakers at his funeral service and at the cemetery celebrated the love and sacrifice that colored his life.

“Most people scarcely know what love is,” said the Rev. Jerrien Gunnink, retired pastor at the First Christian Reformed Church in Denver, where 275 attended a private funeral.

“Sacrificial love is laying down your life,” Gunnink said after the service. “That’s real love – sacrificing your life for someone else, and that’s what (Dietz) did.”

Dietz and the three other SEALs were searching for Taliban-led rebels and al-Qaida fighters when they radioed for backup, setting in motion a grievous chain of events.

[…]”We are so very, very proud of our son,” Dietz’s father and mother, Danny Sr. and Cynthia, said in a written statement released for their family at the cemetery. “He was doing what he loved, and he was GOOD at what he was doing. His shoes are going to be hard to fill – if they ever will be.”

[…]Patsy Dietz also released a statement, saying her “soul mate is not lost. He is waiting to see me one day again.”

[…]He had only known his future wife, Patsy, a few weeks when he told his best friend that he was going to propose. His best friend urged him to wait.

“He said he knew he was going to spend the rest of his life with her, so there was no reason to wait,” his friend recalled.

Patsy Dietz is the stepdaughter of a SEAL senior officer. Her mother set up the date after meeting Dietz at a party.

In a letter she read at memorial services in Virginia, his wife recalled the butterflies she felt the first day they met. “I remember getting lost in your dark eyes.”

Dietz’s best friend recalled Thursday how Dietz proposed.

“He said, ‘Please marry me, and I will serve you the entirety of my life.”‘

And he did.

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