10/22/2012 11:35 am ET

'Horse Soldier' Statue Near One World Trade Center Honors U.S. Troops Who Led Afghanistan Invasion (PHOTOS)

A sculpture depicting a US soldier riding horseback during the invasion of Afghanistan was unveiled near its new home on Friday near One World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan.

The 16-foot-tall bronze statue, titled "De Opresso Liber," depicts a Special Operations soldier in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks, and commemorates the first time US troops used horses in combat since 1942.

Sculptor Douwe Blumberg told DNAinfo:

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

Located in front of the World Trade Center PATH station, the statue first debuted in 2011 during a parade down Fifth Avenue. After moving several times, it will stay at its new home.

A ceremony on Friday thanked donors who raised $750,000 from private citizens who made the installation possible.

Check out some photos from the event, and then watch an interview with Doug Stanton, author of "Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story of a Band of US Soldiers Who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan."

'Horse Soldier' Statue Unveiling
'Horse Soldier' Statue Unveiling