I spent Saturday and Sunday in Rosenburg, Texas at the 6th Annual Danny Dietz Memorial Team Roping (DDMTR) event. Next month will be the tenth anniversary of Operation Red Wings where U.S. Navy SEALS Michael Murphy, Danny Dietz, Matt Axelson, and Marcus Luttrell were inserted deep behind enemy lines on a reconnaissance mission. You all know the story of Lone Survivor (if you don’t, you’re probably not an American) when the rescue column aboard a Special Operations CH-47D aircraft was shot down because it had no attack helicopter support. It was the worst day in Naval Special Warfare operations. I remember it well, as I was in Afghanistan in 2005.
So it was special for me to get the invite to attend the DDMTR and meet the true women of Sparta — Patsy and Donna, wives of Dietz and Axelson — and several others who truly represent the strength behind the men of the Trident.
I was also honored to bid on and take home a very special one-of-a-kind piece of art symbolizing the Gadsden Flag motto of “Don’t Tread on Me.” It is now proudly displayed in the den of our home here in Dallas and it is amazing.
Even more special is that three .50 cal sniper rifle and .45 cal shell casings used in the artwork are from rounds fired by Danny Dietz. And on the back are messages to me from each of the Spartan women who lost their warrior in service to our nation — they gave the “last full measure of devotion.” The Navy SEAL Foundation coin is affixed and there is the summary of this full quote from Benjamin Franklin, December 1775, which explains why the symbol of the rattlesnake so perfectly explains the spirit of our nation, and honors all the fallen:
“…it occurred to me that the Rattle-Snake is found in no other quarter of the world besides America, and may therefore have been chosen, on that account, to represent her.
But then “the worldly properties” of a Snake I judged would be hard to point out. This rather raised than suppressed my curiosity, and having frequently seen the Rattle-Snake, I ran over in my mind every property by which she was distinguished, not only from other animals, but from those of the same genus or class of animals, endeavoring to fix some meaning to each, not wholly inconsistent with common sense.
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