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Commando monument near ground zero unveiled on Veterans Day
“The warlord we were advising heard her on my radio and broadcast to the enemy: ‘Female up in this airplane is wreaking havoc on you,’ ” Sgt. Decker recalled. “That’s an insult, obviously, to the Taliban, who used to beat down their women.”
After the Taliban fell, the commandos buried Col. Bowers‘ fragment of the World Trade Center in Afghanistan. “We did that because the [reason for] sending U.S. forces to Afghanistan was that 9/11 attack — and New York’s firefighters, police and emergency responders had done such a great job,” the colonel said.
Two New York firefighters witnessed the ceremony.
“We went over to thank them. They even wore our baseball caps,” said Monsignor John Delendick, a chaplain for New York’s fire department. “It impressed me that they gathered with us, even though they risked blowing their cover. We were the first soldiers in the war against terror and took a beating at the World Trade Center. These soldiers took it from there.”
In forging the statue, Mr. Blumberg paid attention to the commandos’ stories and included tiny details: In the tread of the soldier’s boots are pieces of gravel from Afghanistan that a Green Beret gave the artist for inspiration.
Another detail: On the soldier’s left hand is the outline of a wedding band under his glove. “That’s my way of tipping my hat to wives, marriages and strain on families,” Mr. Blumberg said. “It’s to acknowledge the stresses caused by multiple deployments.”
The statue will be located temporarily at One World Financial Center until its final installment near ground zero. A group of 9/11 survivors from Wall Street, who asked to remain anonymous, paid for the statue’s creation, and no public funds were used.
On Nov. 12, Army Lt. Gen. John Mulholland, commander of Special Operations Command, will present to New York Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano a map showing where the commandos buried that piece of the World Trade Center in Afghanistan.
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