Plymouth County’s ‘Freedom Rock’ dedicated

Posted June 29, 2017 at 5:00 am

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By Julie Ann Madden

Four years ago, Kingsley Councilman Doug Kraft saw Dickinson County’s Freedom Rock at Lake Park, talked with their Freedom Rock project coordinator Jim Kessler, and brought the idea back to Kingsley.

“Artist Ray “Bubba” Sorensen II did a fantastic job,” Kingsley Mayor Rick Bohle told the crowd of more than 150 Saturday, noting the rock came from Plymouth County’s rock quarry called Walker Pit, located between Oyens and Le Mars. “It’s a great honor to have it all here in Kingsley.”

“I think about the rock and how massive it is,” said Kessler. “It’s solid. There are no empty spots.”

“It represents the foundation that our country was established on many years ago — that we’d be united in cause,” he said. “As Bubba puts his brush to work, he paints on to these rocks a graven image that will be there for eternity. It’s there to pay honor and tribute to a community and its veterans.”

“It signifies they served their country as they served their flag in wars around the world, that we’d never falter, we’d never fail and to this day, it stands true,” said Kessler. “The flag that drapes across the top, I hope it’s never spit upon or degraded because it gave you the privilege to do that — but you’d better enjoy that privilege because it could be taken away.”

“These rocks signify across our great state of Iowa and across the nation, the fearless and undaunting love of a country veterans have given for their sons and their country,” said Kessler.

“This is what makes our country great,” said keynote speaker U.S. Army retired Brigadier General John (Jack) Nicholson. “What you’re witnessing today — the dedication of a unique memorial to this community.”

“We were ready to go to war in Japan on land,” said Nicholson about World War II, when his father was drafted. “Fortunately, the decision was made to end that war with much, much less loss of life — mostly Japanese lives. We figured we’d take 1 million casualties if we had to go and invade the Japanese Islands. Our President Harry Truman made a decision to use a new weapon that ended the war promptly.”

“Those new weapons have been in the arsenal ever since, keeping other Imperialistic nations, Nationalistic nations, Communist nations, Socialist nations, Fascists, the Nazis and now, Islamists from creating another world war, which inevitably just takes a lot of casualties,” he said. “If you’ve been to battle you know what it’s like — what it smells like, what it looks like, and you know you want to prevent it if you can honorably do so,” said Nicholson. “But not at the price of your country becoming slaves like the Islamists preach today all over the world by saying it’s their duty. It’s in the Koran. It’s part of their Sharia Law — that Islamists won’t tolerate the existence of people who do not believe and profess their belief in Islam. It is the duty of a true Islamist to either cause other people to bow down and become the servants for Islamists or it is the duty of Islamists to kill those people or to maim them.”

“It’s in writing,” he said. “You really owe it to yourself, your country, your family and your community to become familiar with the facts,” said Nicholson. “Because they are on the march. We know that because (of military leaders today).”

“I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to serve in the Armed Forces of this country,” said Nicholson. “I’ve had the chance to see what it’s like living in other countries and what they have to put up with when they’re ran by dictators, run by people who care about their own power much, much more than they care about the welfare of their people. We have many factions who want to obtain great power, retain it and accumulate great wealth. They care more about that than they do about individual liberty and freedom which is what our country has stood for. That’s why more people are trying to get into the United States than want to go to all the rest of the countries,” he said.

“Our nation is a little over 300 million people and has less than 1 percent of that population serving in the Armed Forces,” he said. “The reason that percentage is so small is because this country no longer wants to foot the bill for a larger, stronger, more secure Armed Forces. Many complain about money spent on the military but the money that would be spent if we didn’t have a military to defend this country greatly outweighs the amount of money spent by the U.S. to have Armed Forces, which happens to be the best in the world and it’s been that way for about a century.”
A reason for the Armed Forces success is the personnel are all volunteers.

“They held up their hand and took the oath — to defend our Constitution, not to agree with the President necessarily, but to defend the Constitution and to defend our country when so ordered by the hierarchy and the elected,” said Nicholson.

“It’s very stark to realize the difference between a free country and a country ran by a dictator,” he said, giving the example of North Korea. “It’s one of the poorest countries with the population so underfed, under educated, unrecognized…a Communist country.”

“Communism is something the Soviets tried to inject into the United States, starting in the 1930s,” said Nicholson, “and they’ve been successful. A lot of times they don’t call it Communism, they call it Socialism. It’s really another form of Communism, which has been pretty unsuccessful in the biggest country in the world, the Soviet Union, and still is not very successful. It doesn’t allow freedom of religion, freedom of speech and citizens aren’t allowed to vote.”

“It keeps them poor, hungry and hopeless,” he said. “Think of you raising your family if you couldn’t give them hope for the future. What a disappointment that would be.”

“That’s what the Soviets tried to inject into the United States of America in every form of institution that we have, including religions, the media, the entertainment industry, academia, and they are still trying,” he said.

“I congratulate you and your community,” said Nicholson. “Not just because you deserve it but because it’s so good for our country to have this kind of activity, this kind of memento or monument for all the people in this community to see and to be aware that Americans respect their Armed Forces.”

“Please say a little prayer for troops in Afghanistan because they need it,” Nicholson requested, noting his son is serving in Afghanistan, pinning Purple Hearts on wounded soldiers and saluting the fallen’s caskets. “Please remember those guys in your prayers.”

The dedication ceremony concluded with a Gun Salute and Taps.

United Methodist Church pastor, Rev. Mike Stevens of Kingsley, opened the dedication ceremony with an invocation and also concluded the ceremony with a benediction.

Special guests included Senator Joni Ernst’s Regional Director Jerry Self and Plymouth County Supervisor Don Kass.

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