Traverse City News and Events

From Traverse City To Afghanistan To Ground Zero

Sept. 8, 2016

Traverse City has a strong connection to a statue to be dedicated Sept. 13 overlooking Ground Zero in New York City.

The 16-foot work by sculptor Douwe Blumberg depicts a U.S. special forces soldier astride a horse, carrying the war against terror to the Taliban. The imagery is based a military mission that gained notoriety through Traverse City author Doug Stanton’s bestselling 2009 book, Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story of a Band of U.S. Soldiers Who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan.

Stanton, Lt. Gen. John F. Mulholland Jr., who spearheaded the mission, members of the special forces community, and several federal officials will attend the Sept. 13 dedication. The work was commissioned by an anonymous group of Wall Street bankers who lost associates and friends in the 9/11 attacks.

The artist’s rendering brings to life one of America’s most colorful early responses to the attacks of 9/11. A small, elite group of U.S. special forces that included airmen, soldiers and CIA operatives was sent to unify Afghan tribal leaders in the fight against the Taliban and to deny al-Qaeda sanctuary in northern Afghanistan.

U.S. forces quickly learned from their Afghan allies that the best way to reach the enemy was on horseback. At great risk, the special operators rode through some of the most rugged mountains and violent areas in the world in pursuit of their mission.

“In writing about these soldiers, I learned that they too saw the images of the towers falling,” says Stanton. “It galvanized them to take on this very dangerous mission. To have this image cast in bronze is a fitting tribute to them.”

Stanton’s book could also be on its way to becoming a major motion picture.

“They have a script and I’m positive about the film’s prospects,” Stanton tells The Ticker.

Variety reports that the producer would be Jerry Bruckheimer, whose works include Beverly Hills Cop, Flashdance, Top Gun, and Pirates of the Caribbean. Danish filmmaker Nicolai Fuglsig is reportedly set to direct the project for Lionsgate.

Stanton’s book spent three months on the New York Times Best Sellers list and was chosen "Best Book of 2009" by Publishers Weekly, Christian Science Monitor and Barnes & Noble.com. Stanton is now completing a book about the Vietnam War.

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