All About Iowa’s Freedom Rocks

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Many people know the Freedom Rocks as the Patriotic Rocks and one can be found in each of the counties of Iowa. A Freedom Rock is a dedicated 12-foot-tall boulder that has been created to highlight the rich history of America and Veterans who have served bravely.

Iowa’s Freedom Rock Artist

The need to thank U.S. Veterans for their dedicated service to the military and well-being of everyone is a significant passion for those involved in doing the relevant designs of the rock yearly. The painting of the rocks are done by Ray “Bubba” Sorensen II, who lives in Greenfield, Iowa. Sorensen takes it as a duty each year to do the job without being paid. He funds the project personally in addition to donations received as well as profits from Freedom Rock memorabilia sold at the shops.

Wapello county has their own piece of the collection of freedom rocks

Since 2013, Sorensen started a mission to paint a Freedom Rock in every county across Iowa. It is a mission that costs over $5,000, but he doesn’t mind as it is a dedicated service of respect and love. The rocks will be deemed a sacred monument concerning veterans’ memorial through the state. There are currently 99 counties in the state, and he expected to complete the project within ten years.

Freedom Rock Project Iowa

However, based on an interview back in 2016, he noted it might take a shorter time to complete as he only had a few more counties before the entire project was complete.

Sorenson also indicated that after completing his Iowa tour, he would be embarking on a 50-state tour to paint at least one freedom rock in each state. As for the rock I visited in Wapello County, it was painted in October 2014 and dedicated on November 11th, that same year.

This 99-Piece Unique Mural Is Worth Checking Out!

Visiting the Freedom Rocks will leave you feeling at peace with yourself and thanking those who have put their lives on the line for your safety. There is so much respect when you visit these rocks, and the designs laid out on them tell a story without words. There are a total of 99 pieces that will create a mesmerizing beauty in your mind, and they are worth the visit no matter where you are coming from.

Freedom Rock Iowa Tour rock in Ottumwa Iowa

There is a moral-story in every rock as the designs differ and also have a story of veteran history in the county the rock is found. The rocks are a sure tourist attraction and have been admired by a lot of people since the mission to capture our nations gratitude began.

After all, this is one of his goals from painting the rocks – allow visitors to embrace a vibrant and passionate history. Visiting each rock (from the first to the last painted) will be like solving a real-life puzzle. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience you will embark on.

How many Freedom Rocks are in Iowa?

There are currently 99 Freedom Rocks that will be on display through the state, with each having its design, style, and story.

More about who painted the Freedom Rocks in Iowa?

The Freedom Rocks were painted by Ray “Bubba” Sorensen and has been a 10-year project with a mission to achieve history on a few boulders. Sorenson is a passionate individual who has always had the zeal to honor those who have served.

He also believes each county has its own story; thus, taking the time to research then creating the designs will give viewers and tourists much to be fascinated about. Sorenson sometimes does his tours and paintings with his dog, Reagan. Who helps to motivate him.

What does Wapello County’s rock tell you?

Sorenson worked with the local Arts Council to create the vision of this particular rock. We LOVE the collaboration efforts on a local scale! The Gold Star banner remembers the fallen, along with the trifold flag being clutched to a chest.

A side bears a giant “thank you” message, with a nod to the local company. Tuskegee Airmen are represented – these amazing men who created an incredible name for themselves, during the height of segregation.

12 Tuskefee Iowa Airmen

Iowa had 12 of these incredible soldiers. I don’t want to tell you all about the stone, that seems draped with an American flag – you really need to see it for yourself, and the 98 others.

Freedom Rock Iowa Locations

We whipped up a checklist for you to keep track of the rocks you hit – it is a free printable!

Freedom Rock Iowa Tour checklist of 99 rocks to make sure to see - FREE printable

Freedom Rock Iowa Tour!

See them all! We made a checklist for all 99 Iowa counties, you can easily keep track of each rock you see. Get it here:

Other great things to see in Iowa:

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