Saturday, February 10, 2007

Impromptu Rock Memorial


Tony LaRocca said...

Wow. Powerful & beautiful. Where's it at?

Robert McLaughlin said...

According to, this is the story:

The object captured in the image is a 12-foot-high, 56-ton rock which stands alongside Highway 25 in Iowa, about a mile south of the town of Greenfield exit from Interstate 80. For years it featured nothing but graffiti scrawled upon its face by a host of itinerant youngsters — until 1999, when a young man who had grown up in Greenfield was inspired by the film Saving Private Ryan to make better use of the natural canvas.

Ray "Bubba" Sorensen II, now a Des Moines resident who works as an ad/web designer, was a 19-year-old Iowa State University student who had seen the Greenfield rock many times before when, around Memorial Day in 1999, he decided to begin what has become an ongoing artistic tribute to America's veterans:
It was right around Memorial Day, and I was driving by that rock and wondered what it would be like if I actually took the time to go out there and paint it. And so I painted it with the flag-raising at Iwo Jima. I got such a huge response that I kept painting it. I've been painting it for the last five years with tributes to veterans on Memorial Day.
Each year around Memorial Day, Ray uses white paint to cover over his previous year's work, then spends one to three weeks creating new scenes on his blank canvas. The photographs shown above capture the 2003-04 version of the famous Iowa rock, which featured scenes depicting Washington's crossing of the Delaware, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., and America's response to the September 11 terrorist attacks, interspersed with quotes from presidents Thomas Jefferson, John F. Kennedy, and George W. Bush, all capped by renderings of draped American and POW/MIA flags.

Robert McLaughlin said...

I checked it out on Snopes. The story is true.