|Topic||4th Inf Div Statue|
|This item found it way into the InBox of a club member. It certainly tells a nice and compelling story, but is it true?|
Subject: Remarkable Statue
This statue currently stands outside the
Iraqi palace, now home to the 4th Infantry Division. It will eventually be
shipped home and put in the memorial museum in Fort Hood, Texas
The statue was created by an Iraqi artist named Kalat, who for years was forced by Saddam Hussein to make the many hundreds of bronze busts of Saddam that dotted Baghdad.
Kalat was so grateful for the America's liberation of his country; he melted 3 of the heads of the fallen Saddam and made the statue as a memorial to the American soldiers and their fallen warriors.
Kalat worked on this memorial night and day for several months.
To the left of the kneeling soldier is a small Iraqi girl giving the soldier comfort as he mourns the loss of his comrade in arms.
Do you know why we don't hear about this in the news? The media avoids it because it does not have the shock effect. But we can do something about it.
We can pass this along to as many people as we can in honor of all our brave military who are making a difference.
And please pass this on!
|Like many stories on the Internet these days, this is a mix of fact and fiction. The statue is real, it was crafted by an Iraqi sculptor named Kalat and it was made from the melt down of Saddam busts. But the rest of the story is either misleading or just not true. The story WAS written up in a Texas newspaper and then taken up by many national newspapers including the Wall Street Journal:|
TIKRIT, Iraq – Forehead resting on his palm, a weary U.S. soldier kneels before a makeshift memorial – a fallen comrade's helmet, rifle and boots. Nearby, a young Iraqi girl reaches for his shoulder to comfort him.
Officers from the U.S. Army's 4th Infantry Division commissioned a life-size bronze sculpture of the tableau to honor dozens of troops the unit has lost in its 11 months in Iraq.
The 4th Infantry Division missed most major combat operations in last year's war, but it has suffered near-daily casualties in the violent insurgency that has followed. All told, 84 soldiers from the division and units that fought alongside it as part of the Army's Task Force Ironhorse have been killed in combat or accidents. Hundreds more have been wounded. The division also has had its share of successes, such as helping collar Saddam Hussein in December.
After the unit suffered its first significant fatalities last summer, senior officers began searching for a way to commemorate the dead. Command Sgt. Maj. Charles Fuss, the division's top enlisted officer, spearheaded the project. Fuss said he still is mourning the dead soldiers he knew personally, including Spc. Artimis Brassfield, a new father killed by a mortar attack in October, as well as those he knew only as names on casualty reports.
They found a local sculptor, Khalid Alussy, a thin 27-year-old with a quick laugh. Alussy told the officers that some of his work was right outside the division's base, one of Hussein's presidential palace compounds in the deposed leader's hometown of Tikrit.
He was referring to a massive pair of 50-foot bronze statues of Hussein on a galloping horse, his sword pointing toward Jerusalem. The statues flanked a huge, domed, arched gateway on the main road into the palace compound, perched atop the structure's two 100-foot-tall towers. Alussy told the soldiers that he was on a team of several artisans commissioned by the Hussein government to make the statues. He said he took the job because he needed the money and was afraid of the consequences of saying no.
The officers didn't question Alussy further about his political views. Had they pressed him, they might have learned he is harshly critical of the United States and bitter over a U.S. rocket attack during the war that killed his uncle. Alussy said he thinks the war was fought for oil and holds the United States responsible for the violence and unemployment that since have plagued Iraq.
"I made the statues of Saddam – even though I didn't want to – because I needed money for my family and to finish my education," he said. "And I decided to make statues for the Americans for the exact same reasons."
Alussy's initial asking price was far higher than the officers had expected. He blamed the steep price of bronze. So the Americans decided to recycle the bronze Hussein-on-horseback twins.
"We figured we were going to blow them up anyway, so why not take the bronze and use it for our own statues," Fuss said.
Alussy then agreed to do the job for $8,000. By comparison, the former regime paid him the equivalent of several hundred dollars for his work on the Hussein statues. To finance the project, Fuss publicized it in the task force's internal newspaper and asked officers to get soldiers to contribute $1 each. Within weeks, he raised $30,000.
As the work neared completion, Fuss and the division's commander, Maj. Gen. Ray Odierno, decided it needed a clearer connection to Iraq. Odierno suggested adding a small child to symbolize Iraq's new future, Fuss said. When they told the artist they wanted another statue, Alussy asked for $10,000 more.
"He learned capitalism real fast," Fuss said.
The 4th Infantry Division installed the statues in front of a row of regimental flags in an entranceway inside its Tikrit headquarters late last year, but they soon will have a new home.
With the division getting ready to return to the United States next month, the statues now are en route to its home base, Fort Hood, Texas, where they will be the centerpiece of a monument commanders hope to dedicate by Memorial Day, May 31.