De Oppresso Liber, which in Latin means ‘to liberate the oppressed’, depicts a Special Forces Green Beret on horseback leading the invasion into Afghanistan in the weeks that followed the World Trade Center attacks. It captures the iconic image of adaptability, skill, and courage that characterized the mission and quality of U.S. Army Special Forces Soldiers.
Douwe Blumberg, the artist and sculptor of the De Oppresso Liber statue, and Mr. Doug Stanton, author of the book Horse Soldiers, stand in front of the 18-foot bronze statue prior to the start of the New York City Veterans Day Parade, Nov. 11th, 2011. (Photo courtesy of Spec. Kerry Otjen)
As the Nation’s first responders overseas, the Green Berets of the 5th SFG (A) were given the mission to hunt down those responsible for the 9/11 attacks and bring them to justice.
The Special Forces teams faced enormous operational challenges and were required to rapidly adapt 21st century combat technologies and tactics into age old Central Asian models of guerilla and tribal warfare as they partnered with the Afghan tribes of the Northern Alliance.
Needing suitable transportation to navigate the difficult mountainous terrain of Northern Afghanistan, the Special Forces Operational Detachments – Alpha (SFOD-A), or A-teams, were provided horses by the Afghan tribes they were supporting. The Green Berets readily accepted this superior form of mobility and proceeded to assist and advise the Northern Alliance fighters from horseback, similar to the cavalry days of old.
Coordinating military operations while on horseback with local tribal warlords, the Green Berets accomplished in weeks what many thought would take months, if not years; defeating the Taliban and pushing surviving members of al-Qaeda into the mountains of Pakistan. Soon thereafter, the Green Berets would adopt the familiar title of Horse Soldiers.
The Two World Financial Center will serve as a temporary home for the statue. It will eventually relocate to a site overlooking the 9/11 Memorial and Ground Zero; a fitting, final resting place for the Horse Soldier Memorial Statue.
"No matter how well you perform there's always somebody of intelligent opinion who thinks it's lousy." - Laurence Olivier