Way back in June, which seems like such a long time ago, I visited the Guthrie County Freedom Rock in Guthrie Center. This rock, located on West State Street is easy to find and hard to miss because of it’s prominent location on the main drag through town.
I can’t explain the feeling that comes over me when I get close to reaching the location of another Freedom Rock. The anticipation of “What will it look like?” “How big will it be?” combined with the emotion and pride when driving up to one of the Rocks and seeing just how beautiful they are. As always, each one is unique, finely detailed and breathtaking. Painted by artist Ray ‘Bubba’ Sorensen, each county’s Freedom Rock honors our veterans in such a fabulous way.
There are five medals painted on the Freedom Rock, representing the bravery and courage of all Guthrie County veterans from World War II to present. These medals include the Silver Star, The Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, and the Air Medal. Earl Kading (from Menlo) earned the Distinguished Flying Cross thanks to his service in August of 1945 on the day of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
In the photo below, you can see the “dragons’ teeth”, which look like small concrete pyramids. These dragons’ teeth were used by the Germans in World War II to force tanks to move into certain areas. Being about 3-4 feet high, the tanks couldn’t drive over them, so they were forced to drive around them. The Germans would then place landmines in the spots the tanks would be forced into. Iowa fallen soldiers such as Bob Shelley, Veryl Paullin, John Donahey and so many others battled through these dragons’ teeth during World War II.
The armored vehicle on the left features Guthrie Center veteran Bob Morgan and his crew. In Korea, Bob and his men rescued five soldiers from a burning tank. The cemetery in the right side of the photo honors the fallen Guthrie County soldiers that gave their lives on foreign soil. So many Iowans were killed, including Loran Garnes, Kenneth Nickel, Gerald Grett, Daryl Reeves, and James Herrick.
Here was another Freedom Rock I visited where someone had placed a small American flag in the ground by the rock to show they had been there. A quiet and somber “I was here” message.
Make sure to follow along as I visit other Freedom Rocks in the state, or use #FreedomRocks2016 on Twitter and Instagram.