American Patriot: Freedom Rock

In Rural Iowa

Approx. 1.5 mile south of Interstate 80 on Highway 25 (exit 86); Approx. 37 miles (59 km) west of Des Moines, Iowa.; North of Greenfield, Iowa in Adair County

It is an inspiration to anyone who feels the surge of pride when the American Flag is raised, or the National Anthem plays for one of our Olympians on the medal stand.

Every year, for the last five years, a talented artist, Ray (Bubba) Sorensen II, has done a Memorial Day tribute to our servicemen and servicewomen, both past and present, with a stirring tableau painted on a large granite boulder which stands next to Highway 25. The huge granite boulder came out the nearby Schillberg Rock Quarry and it weighs 56 ton (50.8Mg) and is 12 ft (3.7m) high.

"I love my country and I do it out of respect for the veterans. It's my way of thanking those who have protected the freedoms I enjoy today. God bless the USA," says Sorensen.

For years this boulder was known as "the graffiti rock" and was decorated for high school rivalries, love interests, etc. Since the Memorial Day paintings began, the "rock" has remained with the annual tribute intact, until the artist himself paints over it, in preparation for the next year's tribute. The rock has been "defaced" once since Bubba has started this project, causing a local stir. The vandal, got a punch in the face from a Vietnam War veteran for his trouble, and vandalism has never again been a problem.

Sorensen, who is 24 years old and from Greenfield, Iowa, draws a sketch of his idea on paper and then draws the design by free hand onto the rock. This takes him anywhere from one to three weeks to paint. He says he is interested in military history and gets his ideas from books, movies, previous artwork and images by other artists. Bubba has been commissioned to paint a number of public murals including one at the birthplace of Henry A Wallace..

Visitors from every state and many foreign nations have come to view the rock. It was featured last 4th of July on the nationally televised Boston Pops Concert, as well as on many Network news presentations.

If you are anywhere close, you shouldn't miss the opportunity to see what is truly an American treasure.