1999-2015 – “The Freedom Rock is a large (approx. 60+ ton) boulder located in rural Iowa that is repainted every year with a different Thank You for our nations Veterans to honor their service to our country. The artist, Ray “Bubba” Sorensen II, was inspired by the movie Saving Private Ryan, as well as, wanting to give Veterans a unique recognition on Memorial Day.”
Sorensen started painting the original Freedom Rock the first week of May and plans to be finished by Memorial Day 2015. This year’s front (highway facing side) of the Freedom Rock is Sorensen’s expanded version of the Gadsden Flag. It has a soldier shouldering the weight of our country including Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness, symbolizing the heavy responsibility each military person carries and defends during their service. Also on the front is a coiled rattlesnake with a ribbon flowing around his body reading, “Don’t Tread On Me.”
The south side features “The Four Chaplains” who were a calming presence after their troop transport ship, the USS Dorchester, was hit by a torpedo in the early morning hours of Feb. 3, 1943, and began to sink. After organizing an orderly evacuation the life vest supply ran out before everyone had. Selflessly, each chaplain removed their own life vests and gave them to others. The chaplains then locked arms, said prayers and sang hymns as the ship sank.
The back (east side) is the American flag laying on the rock, in the shape of that side of the rock.
On the north side is of course, the Huey helicopter that is painted with green paint containing the ashes (cremains) of fallen Vietnam veterans. Above that will be the famous Vietnam sniper Carlos Hathcock, also known as White Feather. He was famous for killing an enemy NVA sniper by shooting him through the enemy sniper’s scope at a long distance. More here.
As of this posting, the 2015 pictures are not yet up on Bubbas Facebook page but should be soon.