The Polk County Freedom Rock is located in Bondurant, which is northeast of the Des Moines metro area. This particular Freedom Rock was completed in June 2013, and is located in front of the American Legion Post 396, 315 2nd St NW. All of the Freedom Rocks are designed and painted by artist Ray “Bubba” Sorensen.
What you’ll notice by following along with my travels to see all of the Freedom Rocks in Iowa, is that each county has their own special way of marking the site. Whether it be benches, flags, monuments, or landscaping, all of the sites are as unique and beautiful as the rocks themselves.
Driving up to the Polk County Freedom Rock, the first thing I noticed was the flags. Several American flags, as well as flags from each branch of service, and the Iowa flag. They form a half-circle around the rock, so you can’t miss it. Also installed is a paved walkway around the rock, and benches to sit on. Both the tall American flag in front of the rock, as well as the rock itself, have lighting installed.
On the side of the rock facing the Legion Post is a beautiful rendition of the Iowa flag. The Iowa flag depicts an eagle with a ribbon stating “Our Liberties We Prize and Our Rights We Will Maintain.” This was adopted as the Iowa State motto by the First General Assembly on February 25, 1847.
On the side of the rock facing the street is a battle cross, alongside members of all five military branches carrying a flag-draped casket. This honors all those who have lost their lives for our country.
A “battle cross” is a symbolic replacement of a cross, which is placed on the battlefield or at a base camp for a soldier that has been killed. It consists of combat boots, a rifle stood upright in one of the boots, and topped with a helmet. The fallen solider’s dog tags are then hung on the rifle. Stories say this started in the Civil War, when fallen soldiers would many times be buried right where they lay. These markers were then used to locate the fallen.
During Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, these battle crosses were used to set up at base camps to honor fellow soldiers that had lost their lives. It became a focal point and visual reminder of the fallen.
The stone monument dedicates the Polk County Freedom Rock on June 14, 2013.
Follow along on Twitter & Instagram using hasthag #FreedomRocks2016 as I visit all of the existing rocks before Labor Day. In case you missed it, check out my visit to the original Freedom Rock in Adair County.