‘Horse Soldier’ Statue Dedicated in Liberty Park

The “Horse Soldier” statue towers over visitors during its dedication ceremony in Liberty Park.
Dedication ceremony for “De Oppresso Liber” statue in Liberty Park. Photo by 9/11 Memorial Staff.

Weeks after Sept. 11, as the ruins of the twin towers smoldered at ground zero, the United States Special Forces responded in Afghanistan to begin the war against the Taliban.

On Wednesday, a ceremony was held to dedicate a statue called “De Oppresso Liber” dedicated to the U.S. troops who responded in those weeks following 9/11. The statue was moved to the newly-opened Liberty Park where it now stands guard over the attack site.

The 18-foot bronze statue depicts a Green Beret soldier on horseback. Its name in Latin means “to liberate from oppressors.”

Mark Nutsch, a Green Beret who was the captain in charge of Operational Detachment Alpha 595—now known as the “horse soldiers”—was among those who spoke at the ceremony. “We had horses in an attack against tanks, rockets and machines,” he said. 

Given the mountainous Northern Afghanistan terrain, the Afghan tribes provided horses for the men—most of whom had never been on horseback before—to navigate the territory. In the age of modern warfare, it is remarkable that the initial response to the worst attack on American soil was fought in the same cavalry style as the forefathers of the country.

Created by Kentucky based artist Douwe Blumberg, the monument is unofficially known as the “Horse Soldier Statue.” Originally commemorated by Vice President Joe Biden and Army Lt. Gen. John Mulholland on Veterans Day in 2011, the statue moved to a temporary location near the base of One World Trade Center in 2014.

By 9/11 Memorial Staff

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