By Portfolio Editor Roz Hamlett
A larger-than-life sculpture of a Green Beret mounted on an Afghan mountain horse has finally found a permanent home at the World Trade Center Liberty Park, nearly five years after its 2011 debut during the Veteran’s Day Parade in Manhattan. Steve Plate, the Port Authority’s Chief of Major Capital Programs, called the statue, “a resolute symbol of strength, dedication and sacrifice.”
Completed by artist Douwe Blumberg in 2011, the sculpture debuted on a float in the Veteran’s Day Parade down Fifth Avenue on Nov. 11, 2011. That year, it camped out temporarily in the West Street lobby of One World Financial Center opposite the World Trade Center. Amid ongoing discussions and varying opinions on where it should go, the sculpture was placed in front of the Vesey Street and West Broadway entrance to the WTC PATH rail station the following year.
Lt. General John Mulholland, the associate director of the Central Intelligence Agency for Military Affairs, along with veterans, top U.S. military personnel and other leaders, traveled to Lower Manhattan for the rededication event. Compared against the overwhelming size of the Taliban army, Mulholland’s elite corps of Green Berets seemed barely more than a few good men. But following 9/11, 34 U.S. Special Forces commandos eventually routed a Taliban army 50,000 strong in Afghanistan with grenade launchers attached to M4s.
Made of bronze and weighing some 3,500 lbs., the sculpture stands 13 feet tall and is mounted on a three-foot-tall granite plinth. Blumberg was inspired to create a smaller version of the statue after he saw a photo of the special ops team on horseback in Afghanistan. An anonymous group of Manhattan businessmen who lost friends and co-workers on 9/11 commissioned the sculptor to build a large-scale version for the Veteran’s Day parade.