NEW YORK CITY, – Lt. Gen. John F. Mulholland Jr., Port Authority Executive Director Patrick Foye and United War Veterans Council Chairman Douglas McGowan joined U.S. Army and Air Force Special Forces personnel and other interagency leaders to dedicate ‘De Oppresso Liber,’ the America’s Response Monument, in Liberty Park, overlooking the One World Trade Center site of the 9/11 attack.
De Oppresso Liber, also known as “the Horse Soldier,” is a 16-foot tall bronze sculpture of a Special Forces operator from Joint Special Operations Task Force-North, code-named Task Force Dagger. The monument depicts an operator riding into combat against the Taliban upon an Afghan mountain horse just weeks after 9/11.
The statue was sculpted by Douwe Blumberg, internationally known for his horse and military-themed sculptures.
In October 2001 Task Force Dagger, led by then-Col. John F. Mulholland, was the spearhead for America’s response to the attacks of 9/11. Their mission: to destroy the Taliban regime and deny al-Qaida sanctuary in Afghanistan. Supported by Night Stalkers of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) and Airmen from Air Force Special Operations Command, the Special Forces operators of the 5th Special Forces Group (SFG) (Airborne) fought alongside members of the Central Intelligence Agency across the rugged mountains and deserts of Afghanistan, sometimes on horseback, with Afghan tribesmen from a range of ethnic groups opposed to the Taliban.
Patrick Foye was instrumental in finding a home for the statue in the elevated park on the south side of the One World Trade Center site, overlooking the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. Father Alex Karloutsos of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and Brookfield Property Group Chair Ric Clark and the late John Zuccotti of Brookfield also provided key assistance in placing the statue.
“The Soldiers of the U.S. Army Special Forces, together with all the men and women of US Special Operations, and our interagency comrades-in-arms, are honored to be part of the final dedication of the “De Oppresso Liber, America’s Response” statue,” said Mulholland, currently serving as associate director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
“The intent behind the creation of this magnificent statue has always been to complete the story that began with the heroic actions and tribulations of America’s citizens who endured those heinous attacks… continued with the incredible courage of our first responders who ran into the horror and chaos of those attacks to save their countrymen – to the actions our nation took to defeat and destroy those responsible for attacking us.”
“This great endeavor would never have been possible without the enormous and long-standing support and generosity of the business community of New York, as well as the support, commitment and strength of the men and women of New York who rebuilt the greatest city in the world,” Mulholland added.
“This statue is a permanent testament to the bravery and skills of the Special Forces who fought for our freedoms overseas after the 9/11 attacks,” said Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye. “This park is a fitting location for this iconic sculpture, which not only recognizes the Special Forces who fought overseas but the sacrifices made by the brave first responders, including Port Authority Police, who risked their lives to rescue hundreds of people from this site on 9/11.”