WOODBURY COUNTY FREEDOM ROCK

This “Freedom Rock” is one of 99 located counties across Iowa. Painted by artist Ray “Bubba” Sorensen and completed in 2017, this boulder features lifelike paintings highlighting the history and people of the Anthon area. One side of the rock features Sgt. Charles Floyd, who was an officer in the Army and toured with others on the Lewis and Clark Expedition. He died in 1804 and was the only person to die during the excursion. He was buried on the bluffs in south Sioux City, and to honor him, this location later became a national historic monument.

A second side of the rock shows a B-17 bomber that crashed just outside of Anthon in 1944, killing all 10 soldiers on board. Pieces of the wreckage were retrieved and ground into dust, which was then mixed in the paint used for this artwork. The third side features the emergency medical personnel who put their lives on the line to help with rescue efforts in the 1989 crash of United Airlines Flight 232 in Sioux City.

A fourth painting is of Sioux City native George Everette “Bud” Day. Day enlisted in the Air Force and served as a Colonel and pilot during WWII, the Korean War and Vietnam War. While flying a fighter jet in Korea, he was forced to jump from the plane without a parachute. A large pine tree absorbed the brunt of his free fall, and he became the first person to survive an incident like this.

In 1967, while Day was on his 65th mission over Vietnam, his aircraft was hit by enemy fire. Day and his co-pilot were forced to eject from the plane. His co-pilot was rescued by the United States Air Force, but Day couldn’t contact his rescuers about his whereabouts. He sustained many injuries, including a broken arm with several fractures as well as back and eye injuries. He was soon captured by the North Vietnamese enemy but escaped five days later and found his way into South Vietnam, where he hid out for more than 12 days.

Day was captured a second time after being shot in the leg and hand and became a prisoner of war (POW) once again. His captors broke his arm again as punishment for escaping; and over the next several years, he was beaten, tortured and starved. Day was encamped with Navy Lieutenant Commander and future Senator John McCain and Air Force Major Norris Overly, both who were also suffering from injuries, torture and starvation. Major Overly treated the men for their injuries, and McCain assisted in creating a splint to heal Day’s severely injured arm. Day was a prisoner of war for five long years and seven months. The three men were finally released in March 1973 along with 106 other prisoners of war from that specific encampment. Day was reunited with his wife and four children a few days later.

During his military career, Day earned more than 70 awards. In 1976, President Gerald Ford presented him with the Medal of Honor and Air Force Cross. At that time, Day was the only person to be awarded both awards.

ANTHON, IA

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.