America's Response Monument (Horse Soldier Statue)
Dedicated in 2012 in honor of the mounted cavalry scouts in Afghanistan who became the first American soldiers on horseback since 1942, this became the first monument dedicated to the United States military service members assigned to special operations units. The “Horse Soldier” statue stands in front of One World Trade Center where the terror attacks took place on September 11, 2001. The “Horse Soldier” statue represents the anniversary, on October 19, when special operations troops responded to the terrorist attacks with boots on the ground in Afghanistan. Unfamiliar with terrain and guerrilla warfare, special operations troops quickly adapted and overcame enormous operational challenges. One of these challenges was transportation over the rough terrain. These troops were given horses to navigate Afghanistan and overcame the harsh territory’s challenges, pushing the surviving members of Al-Qaeda into the mountains of Pakistan. In response, they became known as America's “Horse Soldiers.”
Backstory and Context
On September 11, 2001, nineteen terrorists under the direction of Osama Bin Laden hijacked four commercial airliners. Their orders were to fly the airliners into these targets with the intention of killing as many people as possible. Two planes were flown into the World Trade Center towers, one was crashed into the Pentagon, and United Airlines Flight 93 was kept from its target (reportedly the United States Capital) by the brave passengers who managed to retake the plane from the hijackers. Flight 93 and all of its passengers and crew were killed, however, when during a fight in the cockpit, the plane crashed into the ground near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. In all, the terrorists killed 2,996 Americans.
This statue stands to watch over One World Trade Center and remains a symbol of America’s military response to the and the actions of Special Operations troops.