Iraqi memorial to fallen Americans

By WND Staff

A statue, now on display at Fort Hood in Texas, pays tribute to the sacrifices made in Iraq by showing an Iraqi girl comforting a U.S. soldier mourning one of his comrades.

Ironically, the statue was made by an Iraqi sculptor who previously worked for Saddam Hussein and cast many official statues of the former Iraqi dictator. On top of that, the bronze used in the piece came from statues of Saddam that were melted down and recast.

The statue was the idea of Army Sgt. Maj. Glen Simpson, stationed last year in Saddam’s hometown of Tikrit. Two statues of Saddam on horseback stood at the main gate of the former ruler’s palace in the town, which the 4th Infantry Division used as its headquarters. When the statues were removed, Simpson got the inspiration to use the bronze from the statues in an image that would pay tribute to his comrades.

“I wanted to forever symbolize the ultimate sacrifice that we make as soldiers,” he wrote.

Simpson set out to find Kalat, the sculptor who created the original statues of Saddam. The artist was delighted to be asked to create the memorial.

Kalat worked for months on the project.

The finished sculpture depicts a soldier kneeling before boots, a rifle and a helmet, his forehead resting on his hand. A young Iraqi girl reaches out to touch the mourning soldier. It was shipped to Fort Hood last February.

The Iraqi girl, he said, symbolizes why the sacrifice was made.

“There are critics that will say this has nothing to do with the memorial statue, but I submit that it has everything to do with the statue. The children of Iraq are its free future,” explained Simpson, who posed for the artist himself.

U.S. soldiers donated money to cover the cost of the statue, although Kalat did not ask to be paid.

“We all felt that since Saddam paid him through threats, by gunpoint, for his statues, (Kalat) deserved whatever funds we could raise,” Simpson said.

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