facebook youtube twitter linkedin

Member's Travelogue: The Freedom Rock!
By Karen Knudtson

On September 11, 2011 we, Ron and Karen Knudtson, rode our Gold Wing 1800 California Side Car Trike from our home in Mason City, Iowa to the town of Greenfield (1800 residents) to join GWRRA Nebraska Chapter "O" for a ride to the The Freedom Rock. It was amazing to glance in the rearview mirror and see all 30 bikes of many different colors descending upon this 90-ton painted rock which honors all the young Iowans who fought worlds removed from bright, beautiful September days in Iowa, sacrificing their lives when their country needed it most.

The artist of The Freedom Rock, Ray "Bubba" Sorensen II paints patriotic scenes on this rock which is located one mile south of Interstate 80, off exit 86. His flair for soldiers, the US flag and historical sense draws tens of thousands of visitors annually to a windwept spot of rural Adair County in Iowa. Memorial Day was kind of lost on America, and the artist wanted to remind America what Memoral Day was all about. 2011 is his 13th year to paint his "Thank You" to our military men and women for as long as he is able. His mission is to provide free mural paintings for Veteran/Military organizations.

A painting of a helicopter on the north side of the Freedom Rock, done in Army green, contains ashes of 28 Vietnam War veterans. Bone fragments within the ash draw you in. The west side shows three soldiers from three eras. The first is a likeness of Marien Lance CPL C.J. Miller of nearby Greenfield, Iowa, who died five years ago in Iraq at the age of 23. The second has a resemblance to the artist's great uncle who served in World War II's Battle of the Bulge. The third, a soldier from the Revolutionary War.

The south corner has room for an image of US Army SSG Sal Giunta, the Medal of Honor recipient from Hiawatha, Iowa who was shot twice while running into enemy fire to save fellow soldiers.

The east side will show a team of Navy SEALS and the compound in Pakistan where commandos killed Osama bin Laden. Fire fighters, the US Pentagon, Manhattan's Twin Towers and police officers, victims of bin Laden's evil, may emerge from the clouds in this scene.

As we viewed this magnificent tribute to our veterans/military, we thought, what a long lasting gift to our nation's heroes and a place for people to come, reflect, and pay tribute.

Read More Featured Stories From February 2012 Wingin' It.