DENVER (KDVR) — Gold Star Families, whose loved ones were killed in action in Afghanistan, are experiencing a range of emotions right now. They are feeling anger and sadness, but still feel very proud of the service and sacrifice.
Nearly 2,500 servicemembers have been killed in the past 20 years in Afghanistan. Thirty-eight are from the state of Colorado.
“I’m still angry. I know we need to get out of there, but I just don’t think the way it was done was the proper way. I think we left a lot of American people there that are going to end up getting killed. I’m angry that there’s going to be a lot of families that feel the pain I feel daily, every minute of every day. Not that I’m in grief constant. There’s going to be a lot of families experiencing this,” Cindy Dietz said.
Dietz’s son, Danny Dietz Jr., grew up in Littleton. He was a Navy SEAL who joined before 9/11 and was deployed to Afghanistan three times. On June 28, 2005, he was killed in an ambush by the Taliban.
The story of Danny Dietz’s heroic life and tragic death was featured in the movie, “Lone Survivor.” His mother is heartbroken to see the country he tried to help deteriorate the way it has over the past few days.
“You know I think he would still be dead set on protecting freedoms of what happened on 9/11, but I think he would also be, it would probably cross his mind, ‘Why did I go there in the first place?’ Even though it was to rectify what happened on 9/11. I believe my son was a very experienced Navy. Just seeing how they pulled out, just be probably shaking his head. But having to do what commander in chief suggested,” Dietz said.
Other Gold Star Families expressed similar disappointment. Christopher Sitton was inspired by the events of 9/11 to enlist. The 21-year-old Ouray native was killed on Aug. 19, 2006 in Afghanistan.
“He enlisted out of high school and totally believe in what he was doing going over there,” his mother, Judy Sitton said.
“I have wondered in last couple of days if he would make the same decision knowing this would happened. I stay in touch with a lot of those who served with him. I am seeing their posts and the disappointment they are feeling. It makes me feel like he gave up everything for nothing. Proud of serving, but feel they gave time and their lives for this to be just ripped out from under them. I don’t feel we have a commander and chief. There is no leadership,” Sitton said.
These families are worried about what this means for the safety of other servicemembers, and they are hoping our country stands behind the military in this difficult time.
“It is still an honorable job. I am very proud of my son and what he did. Very sad ending to this war. I think it’s a wonderful thing to serve your country. I think it’s a real shame and a lot of waste of a lot of young lives. They need to be honored, that we didn’t just pull the rug out from under them. I think something needs to be done, still speak out and support them and thank them for giving up everything they gave up,” Sitton said.
“I am so proud. So proud of my son. I would do anything to get him back. I’m just so proud of the man he became, the warrior he became, and now the warrior angel he is,” Dietz said.