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Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Freedom Rock

Mom sent me an e-mail with some photos of the Freedom Rock in Iowa. I had remembered seeing those photos before, but I couldn't remember the story.
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 of the nearby Schillberg Rock Quarry and it weighs approx. 56 ton (50.8Mg) and is 12 ft (3.7m) high.

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.

When Sorensen was 19, he saw 'Saving Private Ryan' and he felt that patriotism was at an all time low and was not being taught in our schools and this motivated him to paint the rock. People were always driving by to see what was painted on the rock. Sometimes there were bad things and other times is was good. He knew if he painted the rock a lot of people would see it.

Sorensen paints over the previous years mural with white paint and starts with a black canvas. He 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 gets his ideas from books, movies, previous artwork and images by other artists.
Here is one photo of this year's rock:

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This web site has photos of all six versions of the Freedom Rock. And this site has information on how to contact Bubba and buy merchandise (proceeds go to purchase paints and supplies for the rock).

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