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Statue Marking Afghanistan Invasion Finds New Home Near World Trade Center

LOWER MANHATTAN—The so-called horse soldier statue has ridden into lower Manhattan. 

The 16-foot, 5,000-pound bronze sculpture "De Opresso Liber" — which depicts a member of the U.S. Army Special Forces on horseback leading the invasion into Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks — was unveiled Friday at its new home in front of the World Trade Center PATH station. 

Douwe Blumberg, who created the statue, said he was inspired a decade ago to dedicate a piece to military men and women who lost their lives during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

"I heard story after story after story of courage and heroism, professionalism, dedication and sacrifice," Blumberg said. 

"How do you adequately say thank you when you have been freely given a gift of such great value that costs so much, that you know never in your lifetime can you repay it? I think the answer to that question for me is you say thank you as best as you can."

The bronze soldier shown with a rifle slung over his shoulder made its first public appearance in 2011 riding on a float along Fifth Avenue. 

The statue moved several times before landing in front of the PATH station near the corner of Vesey Street and West Broadway. 

"I truly feel that it is in the best location in the world, with One World Trade Center behind it," said Bill White, chairman and CEO of Constellations Group, noting that a piece of World Trade Center steel rests at the foot of the statue.  

Scott Neil, of The Green Beret Foundation, also welcomed the statue to its new spot.

"This is an opportunity we have to showcase the brave men and women who have helped settle the needed score," he said. 

"The Port Authority and other groups have made Ground Zero come back to life by bringing this statue that represents the hard work, the efforts and the success of our men and women overseas."