While visiting my family in Ottumwa in November/December last year, my Dad took me to a new memorial. It’s called “Freedom Rock”.
Here’s part of the official press release, which includes the background on the inspiration for Ottumwa’s new Freedom Rock, finding a suitable boulder, and getting it set up and ready:
(L & W Quarries) donated the 11.5-ton boulder to be the Wapello County Freedom Rock. The search was more challenging than anticipated and took several months to find a boulder of sufficient size and type.
Bringing it here was the next step which demonstrated county and city collaboration. The Wapello County Secondary Roads Department transported it more than 50 miles to Ottumwa. Upon arrival, the City of Ottumwa worked with the Market Street Bridge contractor, Portzen Construction of Dubuque, to unload it. Something that proved easier said than done.
At that point, the rock was power-washed and otherwise prepared to be painted. Sorensen arrived the afternoon of Monday, Sept. 22nd to begin working his magic …
A month after this dedication, my Dad pulled up at Freedom Rock and I got out of the car and walked around this boulder that is taller than me. I studied the paintings and absorbed the meanings. It was a peaceful moment in the midst of a busy five week visit.
I’m the granddaughter and daughter of veterans. My daughters’ Dad is a veteran. I am a veteran. And my oldest daughter is active duty Army; she’ll be a veteran one day. For me, America’s Veteran’s Day has always been a day of thanks and expressed appreciation … even (especially?) living out of the country. It was good to take a few moments to think about it, inspired by the incredible story behind this patriotic memorial.