'Every day is Memorial Day for me'

Remembering those who gave it all for their country


On a mountainside in Afghanistan in 2005, Heritage High School graduate and Navy SEAL Danny Dietz gave his life for his country.

Nearly 15 years later, his father, Danny Dietz Sr., spent Memorial Day in the shade beside his son's grave at Fort Logan National Cemetery.

Danny Sr. greeted many visitors who thanked him for his family's sacrifice.
“It's hard for me to come here and see my boy lying in the ground like that,” Dietz said. “But on days like today, so many people come by and tell me they remember him. It means something. Every day is Memorial Day for me.”

Nearby, the Dauro sisters – Grace, 5, Caroline, 3, and Vivienne, 1 – wandered among the headstones, laying rose after rose on grave after grave.

The girls' dad Michael, a former Navy SEAL, said he brings them every Memorial Day.

“These people shed their blood,” Michael said. “I want my girls to know that freedom isn't guaranteed. It can be taken and lost, and people have paid the ultimate sacrifice to preserve it. It's worth defending.”

At Littleton's World War II memorial in Ketring Park, Jan Merchant watched as the band of brothers from Veterans of Foreign Post #4666 honored the fallen.

For the first time, she was there without her father Earle Reed, who served in the Army in World War II and died last year at age 103.

Reed only moved to Colorado at age 96, Merchant said, but made fast friends with the fellow veterans at the VFW.

Stan McClure, who served with the Army in a remote jungle base in Vietnam, choked up as he remembered going to Rockies games with Reed.

At the lectern, retired Marine Col. Richard Swedberg called for a blessing.

“We remember those that served alongside these great warriors,” Swedberg said. “Those who are missing friends. Those that wonder why great men and women died and they are alive with only their memories. Bless them and bless their service.”


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