Changing faces: statue honors fallen heroes
Click Pics to
Kalat examines the statue of an American Soldier made from
melting down bronze statues of Saddam Hussein.
By Spc. Benjamin R. Kibbey
January 6, 2004
TIKRIT, Iraq (Army News Service, Jan. 6,
2004) -- When he was forced to fashion statues of Saddam Hussein on
horseback, the Iraqi sculptor, Kalat, had no idea that someday he
would melt them down to create a memorial for American Soldiers.
The two original statues -- which adorned a gate at the palace complex
where 4th Infantry Division’s headquarters group is located -- were
removed with explosives in early July, said 1st Sgt. Mark Anderson,
Headquarters and Headquarters Company.
The statues were cut into pieces by the 555th Engineer Group and
shipped to Kalat who reshaped the chunks of bronze into a likeness of
an American Soldier. A small girl comforts the Soldier as he mourns a
The likeness was fashioned from a photograph of 1st Sgt. Glen Simpson,
the former HHC first sergeant, who knelt for a picture that has become
an immortal portrait in bronze, said Command Sgt. Maj. Chuck Fuss, 4th
Inf. Div. command sergeant major.
Kalat spent several months sculpting and casting the statue.
“Though he created the original statues of Saddam along with another
artist, he created the 4th Infantry Division memorial through his own
design,” Anderson said.
The sculpture is based on a scene many in Iraq have witnessed in one
form or another.
A Soldier kneels before a memorial of boots, rifle and helmet - his
forehead resting in the hollow of his hand. Behind and to his right
stands a small Iraqi girl with her hand reaching out to touch his
The statue evokes emotion. The girl was added to the statue to remind
people of why the sacrifice was made, Fuss said.
“It’s about freedom for this country, but it’s also about the
children who will grow up in a free society,” he said.
Sitting in a former palace of Saddam now, the statue will soon be
shuttled to Fort Hood, where it will become part of a larger memorial
project at the 4th Inf. Div. museum.
Fuss and Anderson credited the Soldiers’ generosity and Simpson’s
vision for the lasting gift that, in the end, remembers fallen
“I think this is the best way we can honor their families and their
memories,” Fuss said.
“Really that’s what it’s for - a tribute to all the Soldiers
over here who lost their lives,” Anderson said. “They will never
be forgotten and they will always be heroes in our eyes.”
(Editor’s note: Spc. Benjamin, R. Kibbey is a member of Task Force