Eleven years to the day after US Army Special Operations horse soldiers joined the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan to roust the Taliban from its strongholds, 200 war heroes have gathered at the World Trade Center memorial to rededicate a statue honouring the mounted troops.
Those war heroes include those who first parachuted into the Afghan mountains under the cover of snow and darkness to hit back against the Taliban.
They gathered on Friday at the World Trade Centre Memorial to rededicate the monumental bronze statue of the Horse Soldier. The statue is fittingly placed watching over the WTC Memorial.
“Today, just as we gather to rededicate this statue, we pledge to rededicate ourselves to honor the bravest that our nation has to offer,” said Vince McGowan, president of the United War Veterans Council.
“As conflicts around the world wind down, this work of art will remind all visitors to the WTC Memorial of those who altered the course of history after September 11, 2001 – and, indeed, those who have served bravely in all wars.”
The 16-foot tall bronze statue is entitled De Oppresso Liber, or “to liberate the oppressed”, the motto of the United States Army Special Forces.
It was cast in bronze by renowned sculptor Douwe Blumberg.
Due to long-planned construction and improvements at World Financial Center, the statue is being rededicated and moved to a temporary location.
Constellations Group chief executie Bill White, who was master of ceremonies, said: “The Horse Soldier statue represents the best of our armed forces: bravery, strength, cunning and shared sacrifice.
“As we pause to reflect and rededicate, we welcome all visitors who come to the memorial to join us in paying tribute to these remarkable soldiers and all of those who fight for our nation.”
Those attending included New York State Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy; Green Beret Foundation and United War Veteran’s Council Leadership; Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations Michael Sheehan; Three Star Lieutenant General John Mulholland; New York Fire Department Commissioner Salvatore Cassano; Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Director Pat Foye and business leaders from UBS, Cushman & Wakefield and Brookfield Properties.