Lake Park, IA breaks ground to prepare for freedom rock memorial - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Lake Park, IA breaks ground to prepare for freedom rock memorial

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Lake Park will have its Freedom Rock at the center of a veterans' memorial near the local community center. Lake Park will have its Freedom Rock at the center of a veterans' memorial near the local community center.
LAKE PARK, Iowa (KTIV) -

Something as mundane as a shovel, means so much to Jim Ahart. His father was a prisoner of war during World War II, and was on the Bataan death march. He says his father was emaciated, coming back at 87 pounds when he finally was released.

"He went through all kinds of torture and abuse. It's just unbelievable. I don't know how anyone could survive that," said Ahart.

Now, he's helping break ground to make the image of his dad forever be part of Lake Park. His dad's face will be depicted on the a rock designed by Freedom Rock artist Ray "Bubba" Sorenson. James Kessler first heard about Sorenson's tour tour in January, and inspired by the original rock in Greenfield, Iowa, that he'd seen many times on trips across the state, he knew he had to act quickly.

"It was just neat, so touching. And I just thought, oh, if Lake Park could have something like that to help our town," said Kessler.

The American Legion approved the plans to bring the rock in, and Kessler knew this one had to be a little different to suit the community.

"We're going to have field rocks, amplifying strength, unity and the ruggedness of the people that served our country," said Kessler.

"It'll always be here and the fact that it's going up in 99 counties with 99 rocks, just kind of ties it all together. And I think it's just really a neat project," said Ahart.

Sorenson will make one giant rock the center of the veterans memorial, while five smaller ones will represent the five branches of the military.

"It's going to be like a pavilion in here. It's not going to be covered or anything," said Engel. "But it's going to be bricks on the ground."

Dickinson County residents can purchase those bricks to go alongside the Freedom Rock, as a way to say thank you and to remember family members who've served.

"The city of Lake Park and all people of the United States should be very proud of our veterans, that they served in supreme sacrifice and this is a dedication to them," said Engel.

Lake Park hopes to have the memorial completed by later this month. The Freedom Rock itself should be finished some time in September.

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