IOWA'S FREEDOM ROCK is a large 12-foot tall 56-ton boulder that sits beside Highway 25 in rural Iowa just a mile south of Interstate 80. The huge rock serves as a "natural canvas" that is repainted every year with a different memorial theme. For years the boulder had been carelessly defaced by juvenile graffiti taggers before the artist, Ray Sorenson -- who became so inspired by the movie Saving Private Ryan --decided to do something special for American veterans in recognition of their service. Every year before Memorial Day he paints over the previous year's work and creates a new tribute to American heroes on the boulder face. His work has become so popular that people come from all over the United States and abroad to see it. His art draws so many people because it doesn't glorify combat, but deals compassionately with the personal side of war -- from the POWs and MIAs, slain heros, surviving amputees, the traumatized veterans, and their families. We are challenged to live honorably to validate their sacrifice, "Are we worth dying for?"
Here are a few of his past memorial paintings...
Sorensen has been touring around the state and is currently painting similar Freedom Rocks for other Iowa counties when he's not working on the giant boulder. So I'll be on the lookout for them during my travels.
Week 22, 1774 Miles, Weather 78F🌩