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BOULDER - A giant bronze sculpture in upstate New York has a strong connection to Colorado.

Besides being at Fort Drum, it also has its roots at Camp Hale near Leadville during World War II.

But there's another connection to Colorado. The artist who created the piece is from Boulder and, for her, this project was personal.

Susan Raymond Grant was commissioned to do the Fallen Warrior Monument at Fort Drum to honor soldiers from the base killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. She did another sculpture there in 1991 that depicted World War II soldiers, who were the backbone of the 10th Mountain Division. But for the most recent project, she was given one year to complete it.

She knew she had the vision and talent but wasn't sure she had the time. She wanted to do a massive piece of art, that included eight figures, seven of which are more than 7-feet tall.

Part of the sculpture would be soldiers honoring a fallen comrade.

The second part, soldiers on patrol in Afghanistan, reaching back to a small boy who is reaching up to them. The artist said she came up with the idea based on pictures sent to her by a friend serving in Afghanistan.

Grant was working day and night with friends and co-workers on the project, but still wasn't sure she could finish on time. Then, on a trip back to the army base in New York, it came to her.

The soldiers who were putting their lives on the line didn't get a break, so why should she? She decided to work harder, longer and get more help. And the result was spectacular. The $500,000 piece of art was completed, delivered and installed right on time.

It was dedicated in the fall of 2013.

Grant is very humble when describing her experience.

"This is not about me," she told 9NEWS. "This is about those families and people that loved the ones who didn't come home."

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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