Stroke by stroke, Robert C. Whiteside spent his Sunday afternoon putting the finishing touches on freedom.

"We're just finishing up the red, white, and blue. We spotted the white and we went over with the red, creating the pattern of the flag that was previously on the horse," said Whiteside.

What You Need To Know

  • The horse statue "Freedom" is being repaired after being vandalized in late-July

  • Robert Whiteside, one of the original artists of the project, is putting the finishing touches on the repair 

  • The statue was built to honor first responders killed during the September 11 terrorist attacks

  • On September 8, the statue will return to I-490

Whiteside is one of the original artists of the project. The horse statue named “Freedom” stood along I-490 as a way to honor the first responders killed during the September 11 terrorist attacks.

So, nearly two decades later, Whiteside is repainting the horse after somebody vandalized the memorial. His goal is to make the monument better than before. 

"As we're walking around looking for any possible little detail, it's going to be seen from a highway, but we want to make sure it's good and it's clear-coated and baked with that clear coat, we want it to be out there another 20 years," said Whiteside. 

For Robert, he had support. His wife, Madelyn, along with other relatives, were there to help with the project. 

"We have here today, our family who are giving us a last push to get everything done. We have our son and our daughter-in-law and her niece and her daughter," said Madelyn.

On September 8, the freedom horse is going to be taken back to I-490. There will be a ceremony on that day to celebrate the occasion.

"It will be escorted with a parade of police from the city, so it's going back in a big bang back to 490," said Madelyn.