When I travel, I rely heavily on my GPS. One, because I’m terrible at directions. Two, if I can listen to the monotone GPS voice telling me when to turn, I can spend my time looking at the road and seeing the world around me. So when we visited Creston on a camping trip, of course we had to use the GPS to find the Union County Freedom Rock.
My reason for mentioning the GPS is because the Union County Freedom Rock is not where the GPS tells you it is. It’s close, but don’t be like us and pay so much attention to the left side of the road because the GPS is insisting it’s there… and YOU. CAN’T. SEE. IT. But, then just drive right by it because you weren’t looking to the right.
Word to the wise, if you’re using a GPS and it announces you are “arriving at your destination on the left” make sure to also turn your head to the right. It will save you time and frustration, and possibly save you from driving almost all the way out of town just because “it just has to be here somewhere!”
Because really, how in the world did we miss seeing this beauty? That eagle on the top holding the flag draped over the side. Absolutely gorgeous.
Look at the amount of detail on this. The colors, everything. There is so much going on here and it’s breathtaking.
In the photo below, you can see Creston’s restored depot in the background. This depot was built in 1899, and was restored in 1974. Currently, it houses the Creston city offices, City Council chambers, and even an art gallery, model railroad club and more.
On this side of the rock below, you can see the POW-MIA emblem. Originally, the intent for this rock was to list all of the county’s POW’s on the rock. Sadly, there were too many to list. If they would have listed them, they would include PFC (Private 1st Class) Scott Duckworth, who was captured by Nazi Germany during WWI, and held captive 2 1/2 years. Or Second Lieutenant Howard Lowe, also captured by Nazi Germany during WWII. Lowe was held captive for one year. Donald Decker (rank unknown) was also captured by the Nazis during WWII. He was 21 years old at the time.
Let’s stop here for a minute.
Can you imagine? Being 21 years old, and finding yourself captured in a foreign country with no idea of when (or IF) you will be released? I have kids that age, and it is unfathomable to me to think of what these young soldiers went through.
This Freedom Rock could also recognize Technical Sergeant Lee Hazen, captured at age 21 in 1944. Hazen was held captive for 437 days, again by Nazi Germany. I wonder what these soldiers did and thought about during their time they were held captive?
Corporal Paul Debord was captured by Imperial Japan while serving in the Phillipines during WWII. He was held captive for much longer than the others– THREE AND A HALF YEARS. Think about how many things can happen and change in your life over the course of three and a half years. That is time he never got back. It’s time lost that none of these soldiers will get back.
But there’s more…
Marshall Johnson (rank unknown) captured in 1942 and held captive for 3 1/2 years.
PFC Ed Martin, captured by Nazi Germany in 1943.
Private H Wayne Jackson, captured in 1944 and held captive by Nazi Germany for seven months.
I’d love to learn if any of these individuals are still living.
That might be a project for another day.
Want to catch up on other Freedom Rocks that I have visited so far? I’m still working on making my way through all of them!