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The Dietz family began working on the memorial last year with Mr. Tancredo and the city of Littleton. They raised $42,000 to cover the cost of the memorial.

Critics argued that the statue was particularly inappropriate in light of its proximity to Columbine High School. The school, site of the 1999 massacre in which two gunmen killed 13 persons, is located about a mile from the memorial.

The statue’s supporters fumed at the comparison, calling any connection between Petty Officer Dietz’s service and the school shooting offensive.

“The tragedy that happened at Columbine High School had nothing to do with the vets,” Mr. Taylor said.

Indeed, the controversy may have helped organizers attract more support for the memorial.

Gary Hoover of Aurora, who attended the ceremony with his wife and two children, said he wanted to send a message to the statue’s critics.

“We’re here for Danny Dietz and his sacrifice and as a statement in support of this memorial,” Mr. Hoover said.