Statue made of melted bronze from Saddam statues dedicated at Fort Hood

Friday, September 3rd 2004, 2:03 pm
By: News On 6

FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) _ A life-size statue of a GI in mourning made from the bronze of two melted-down monuments to Saddam Hussein was dedicated to the 4th Infantry Division.

Hundreds of soldiers at a ceremony Thursday joined family members and friends of the 75 men and six women from the division killed in the war.

Division soldiers had toppled two 50-foot statues of a heroic Saddam on horseback in Saddam's hometown of Tikrit.

An Iraqi artist melted the statues down and created a new one depicting a GI mourning the fallen comrades as a girl tries to console him.

``It is very symbolic that this was the statue of the dictator that made those people miserable, and that my husband was able to go and help to make a difference there,'' said Ursula Pirtle, whose husband, Spc. James Heath Pirtle, 26, was killed in action Oct. 4. She was six months pregnant at the time.

The 4th Infantry Division, with 17,000 troops, deployed to Iraq for 11 months before returning to the United States early this year. The division is preparing for a possible return to Iraq next year.