Commemorated by General Muholland and Vice President Joe Biden on Veteran’s Day in 2011, the horse soldier memorial is a larger than life bronze representation of an iconic image from the early days of the War on Terror. The actual name of the statue is “America’s Response” in reference to the US Special Forces soldiers who were the first in to fight in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks. Some of these soldiers even rode into combat against the Taliban on horseback. Although I never rode horseback in Afghanistan and missed the initial invasion, I later served in the same unit as these men and was fortunate to meet and work with some of them.

The juxtaposition of a modern day Special Forces soldier carrying high tech weapons and equipment while riding on a horse was something that deeply inspired the sculptor of the work. The story of what came to be known as the “horse soldiers” has entered into the popular lexicon and the mythos of Special Forces over the last decade. Not only were the horse soldiers America’s initial counter-attack in the war on terror, but the unconventional nature of the Special Forces campaign to defeat the Taliban has come to be seen as a justification for the very existence of such a unit and capability. The invasion of Afghanistan is seen as perhaps the most pivotal and important moment in the history of Special Forces.

The statue is said to be located at 1 World Trade Center where the soldier protectively looks over the new World Trade Center building. However, the statue is actually pretty difficult to find. I had to navigate a labyrinth of streets and closed off construction areas, only finding the monument after asking a police officer in front of the 9/11 museum. Backtracking around roped-off areas, the statue can be found next to the Path train to New Jersey.

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