Cedar Falls, located in Black Hawk County hosts one of 99 “Freedom Rocks” in the state of Iowa. Inspired by the movie “Saving Private Ryan” Artist Ray “Bubba” Sorensen II wanted a way to give Veterans a form of recognition. He started the original Freedom Rock – a 60+ ton boulder that is in a rural part of Iowa and continued his quest until each county had one.

The rock painting depicts a woman mourning over a tombstone and a Veteran paraplegic with the phrase: “when the battles are done, the war isn’t over for our Veterans or their family. It is just beginning.” Five Navy Veterans, and other soldiers including United States Army officer, a draped American flag and a photo of U.S. Army officer Robert John Hibbs. There is also an individual flagpole and bronze plaque honoring Hibbs.

Hibbs wanted to be a soldier ever since he was a boy. He joined the Army in 1964. Two years later while serving in the Vietnam War, Hibbs was in charge of a 15-man battalion when they noticed the Viet Cong enemy force approaching them. Just 20 feet from them, he fired two mines, threw hand grenades and opened fire on the enemy. He then led his men toward their perimeter when they came upon another Viet Cong force ready to attack them. Instead, they charged against the enemy disrupting their plans. During the chaos, he learned one of his men was in the battlefield and wounded. Though injured himself, Hibbs and another man dodged machine gunfire towards injured soldier and dragged the soldier to safety. Hibbs died in the firefight but didn’t lose a single one of his men that day. He was the first Iowan to receive the Medal of Honor in the Vietnam War. Hibbs is buried in the Greenwood Cemetery in Cedar Falls.

Stone Group Architects (SGA) is a proud supporter of our Veterans and Military Memorials. While we are strong supporters, SGA is independent from the memorials and does not claim responsibility of building or funding these memorials. SGA is a verified Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small business (SDVOSB) architectural firm, providing planning and design services to a variety of government clients.