Nowhere is patriotism more alive and well than in America's small towns. The hustle and bustle of city life is not part of the day here, and the relaxed lifestyle gives people more of a chance to reflect on what we have to be thankful for. At a time when America is embroiled in conflicts the rest of us see on television, it hits home in a much larger way when a "hometown kid" is wounded or killed in action.
The town of Casey, Iowa, in Guthrie County, is one of those towns that is very proud of their patriotism. Along the quiet main street, lined with antique shops and businesses long gone is a gap in the facade of brick buildings. In that quiet spot, the town has built a memorial to our men and women in the armed forces.
Veterans Memorial Park was founded in 2000, and features beautifully landscaped gardens, benches for reflecting and quiet moments, a gazebo, and most notably, a huge mural painted by the local artist, Ray "Bubba" Sorensen II.
Like his other patriotic artwork, the mural is dedicated to the United States Military, past, present and future, and depicts scenes from almost every war.
Each scene in this incredibly detailed two-story mural tells the story of war, from the loss of a fellow soldier,
to the brotherhood that develops among soldiers during times of conflict, far from their homes, and often in very dangerous locations.
A Gulf War pilot of memorialized,
as a soldier fighting during the Vietnam War works his way through the jungle.
Generations old images of Uncle Sam recall the "I Want You" campaign nearly a century ago.
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor is also captured,
as is the landing of American troops on Omaha Beach in World War II.
Above all else, we are reminded to say thank you to all of our servicemen and women, for the freedom we enjoy today, for their sacrifices and that of their families. Veterans Memorial Park is a very fitting and sincere tribute, and an Iowa small town gem that should NOT be missed.
You can learn more about the artist, Ray "Bubba" Sorensen II, and his many beautiful works of art my visiting http://www.thefreedomrock.com/.