Another day, another beautiful work of art by artist Ray “Bubba” Sorensen! The Crawford County Freedom Rock is located at 399 5th Street in Manilla. It was completed in October 2015, making it one of the newest rocks to be completed.
Leading up to this particular Rock is a walkway paved with the names of donors and honorees from Crawford County. As you can see from the picture below, there are lots of names of people that got involved in making this project happen. The people you see in the picture are the same ones I told you about in my previous post… we seemed to keep meeting up at these Rock locations. 🙂
The Rock itself is surrounded by the walkway, as well as a stone seating area and flags. Again, like most of the other Rocks, the area is also lined with flags from each branch of service, the Iowa State flag, and of course, the U.S. Flag.
The building next to the Rock display welcomes everyone to Manilla, a small town proud of their railroad heritage.
One side of the rock is painted with a Rev. A. Kilbourn quote “The dead soldier’s silence sings our national anthem.” Below is a shadow of a soldier looking over two headstones. Two fallen soldiers are named on the headstones — James Alan Justice (1978-2011) and Casey (Justin Paul) Byers (1982-2005). Both men were from Crawford County.
James Justice was killed in Afghanistan at the age of 32, and left behind a wife and daughter. Justice died of injuries he received when insurgents attacked his unit with arms fire.
Casey Byers, age 22, was killed south of Ramadi (central Iraq) when an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated near his military vehicle.
Honoring the area’s railroad heritage and history, a locomotive has been added at the bottom of the rock. The train surrounds three of the four sides.
The Crawford County Freedom Rock is just one of many that have been completed in the state of Iowa. The first one I had the honor of visiting was the original Adair County Freedom Rock. You can also read about all of the others I have visited here.