As I was driving home from Lincoln, Nebraska on Interstate 80 somewhere along the way through Iowa I saw a roadway sign announcing “Freedom Rock” . I always like to try pull off and take a look at interesting things along the journey, and frankly other than John Wayne’s birthplace, the options on this journey were sparse. So, I took the exit. As I traveled down the lonely two lane road, about 1.5 miles past the assortment of used Humvees for sale and a very tall partially rusted sign that proclaims “salad bar’’, I saw a rock ahead on the left hand side of the road.
I turned into the gravel road and stopped. To my left was an enormous rock which had been lovingly painted with an interesting array of war heroes . It was a brightly colored mural that wound itself around the shape of the rock. I walked around and marveled at the freshness of the paintings, vibrant colors as if it had been painted that morning. The artwork wasn’t masterpiece art but definitely lovingly painted with heart. The setting around the marker was serenely beautiful. It is placed right in front of a frozen pond surrounded by trees,in the middle of Iowa cornfield country. I continued to walk around the perimeter of the of the rock viewing each of the paintings slowly and with purpose. Respecting every stroke.
As I came around the backside of The Rock I noticed the telephone pole. The telephone pole was covered with memorials left by visitors touched by the simple memorial. The pole was truly the memorial. It was decorated with a wide array of memories, a tattered flag marked with black felt tip “ Medal of Honor” the name and the dates, there were patches from different units, dog tags, pins and a handmade cross. All tacked up on to this telephone pole off the beaten path in Iowa reminding visitors to never forget. Perhaps it’s something that more of us should do, stop along the way at those obscure roadside signs pointing to some kind of Memorial or historical marker. maybe just maybe it might make you smile, or ponder or just remind you to never forget.
Until Next Time,