On Saturday, the Tampa Bay Veterans Alliance hosted a special ceremony at Crest Lake Park in Clearwater. The event featured a tribute to Navy SEAL, Danny Dietz.

  • Bay area veterans ceremony paid tribute to local Navy SEAL
  • Danny Dietz killed during gun battle in Afghanistan in 2005

"I have always supported my kids and just wanted the best for them so I was so proud and so honored that he wanted to serve his country," Cindy Dietz-Marsh said.

Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Danny Dietz was killed during a gun battle while on a mission in Afghanistan in 2005. His mother, Cindy, said they were unable to locate him for several days.

"On July 4th, we got our final knock that our son wasn't coming home it was the most horrific, life changing day for our family," Dietz-Marsh said.

It was a horrific tragedy no family should have to endure but Cindy has made it her mission to keep Danny’s memory alive. She was a key-note speaker at Saturday’s ceremony that also dedicated State Road 60 as a Purple Heart Trail.

The Purple Heart Trail was established in 1992 by the Military Order of the Purple Heart to be a symbolic national network of roadways to commemorate and honor all men and women who were hurt or killed in combat. Heroes like Navy SEAL Danny Dietz and countless others who gave everything for our freedom.

Cindy said she’d give anything to have her son back but couldn’t be more proud of his service and is grateful for the support.

"People have been so kind and without the love and generosity and care from people around the world, I wouldn't be where I am today, it's one day at a time and one step at a time," Dietz-Marsh said.