A statue honoring soldiers who served in Afghanistan on horseback was rededicated Friday at the World Trade Center site.
The 16-foot-tall Special Operations Horse Soldiers statue, located on Greenwich Street near the Path Station, commemorates when U.S. Special Operations team members rode horses into combat during the American invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
Riding with and advising Northern Alliance warlords fighting the Taliban and al-Qaeda on steep terrain in Northern Afghanistan, it was the first time U.S. troops rode horses in a military operation since 1942.
"Having the terrorist attacks here, bringing this back home, it's priceless, words can't describe the pride and honor we all feel," said U.S. Army "Horse Soldier" Master Sergeant Michael Elmore.
"Only one had ever been on a horse in his life. He is a no kidding cowboy. The other men had never been on a horse. In the spirit of great Special Forces guys they adapted and began to conduct a horse-mounted operation with their Afghan counterparts," said Special Operations Deputy Commanding General Lieutenant General John Mulholland Jr.
The statue was made possible by private donations, with $750,000 raised in six weeks.
"Mulholland and his guys would never ask for anything and that's the beauty of it. They're the quiet professionals so we wanted to do something to recognize them and all those who went and served to fight the battle of 9/11," said Constellations Group CEO Bill White.
"The message is that military service to your country is an honorable thing," said Sculptor Douwe Blumberg.
Among those on hand for the ceremony was Johnny Spann, whose son Mike was the first American to die during the invasion while working with the CIA.
"Hopefully the dedication of this Horse Soldier Monument will make people more aware and maybe they will get interested in reading about it or whatever. It's a part of our history, and it's important people know exactly what took place," Spann said.
The statue was first dedicated by Vice President Joe Biden on Veteran's Day.