Freedom Rock, Menlo Park

About Freedom Rock, Menlo Park

Freedom Rock, Menlo Park

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The Freedom Rock (also known as the Patriotic Rock) is a 12-foot-tall (3.7 m) boulder located along Iowa Highway 25 near Menlo in western Iowa approximately one mile (1.6 km) south of exit 86 on Interstate 80. The boulder weighs approximately 56 short tons (51 t; 50 long tons). The rock is located on private property and was used for graffiti. Since 1999, however, it is repainted every year in time for Memorial Day with the purpose of thanking U.S. veterans and their families for their military service and sacrifice. The rock is painted by Ray "Bubba" Sorensen II from Greenfield. Sorensen is not commissioned or paid to paint The Freedom Rock, he uses his own money along with donations and sales of Freedom Rock merchandise to fund the project. In the Spring of 2013, Sorensen began The Iowa Freedom Rock Tour by painting a Freedom Rock (patriotic themed rock) in every county in Iowa at a cost of $5,000 USD plus lodging & supplies per rock, creating a unique statewide veterans memorial for the state. The rocks placed in each county will not be repainted every year. He expected to take ten years to complete the painting of a freedom rock in each of Iowa's 99 counties, but in a 2016 update interview during only his fourth year of his Iowa tour, he expects to complete the Iowa tour in seven or eight years and has only ten more counties in Iowa to book. As he completes the last four years of his Iowa tour, he will begin a nationwide 50 state tour. He plans to paint some freedom rocks of the 50 state tour in warmer places than Iowa during December, January, and February, starting with Alabama in the winter of 2016-7.

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  • Just love this place, creator/painter Ray "Buba" Swanson does an excellent job, he makes sure it's done by memorial day every year. His website explains the story of the paintings on the rock. Words cannot do justice for all the work he does every year. I just love it. If you go close to memorial day chances are you will find him there painting it. He is also painting a rock for every country in Iowa (99 I believe).

  • I love it every year. It's to celebrate our veterans who fought on the ground. Got no sleep, didn't eat right, wore down their bodies, all for us. For the freedom that we are allotted. Why wouldn't I go commemorate that.

  • Amazing tribute to put troops. Always changes the painting every year, a trip we keep doing

  • This was the smallest place with the most amazing painted rock I've ever seen! He paints it differently every year around Memorial Day. Can't wait to stop again.

  • Incredibly beautiful. The talent is just outstanding. Great tribute to the vets.

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