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Freedom Rock Honors Veterans

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 LECLAIRE, IA -- Vietnam veteran Don Drach led the Scott County Freedom Rock to its final destination in LeClaire. He says, "The whole way here it was pretty hard to contain a smile so it means a whole lot."

Drach says many older veterans didn't get the welcome home they deserved when coming back from war. "It's not something I talk about a lot, but when I came home, we were boo'ed, spit at, stuff thrown at us. We were accused of killing babies."

To finally get recognition means more than anything to Drach.

Tonia Kennedy is the president of the Scott County Freedom Rock committee. She and the vice president, Barry Long have worked on this project for more than a year.

Long says, "When they placed the rock, it was just a tremendous feeling. This is going to be a great honor for all our military people of Scott County - past, present and future."

After all the work, the small city of LeClaire now houses a memorial for all 15,000 veterans in Scott County. Kennedy says help from the community made today's event possible. All the services and even the 7.5-ton, 1.5-billion-year-old boulder were generously donated.

Kennedy says, "It means that people appreciate what the veterans and others have done for us to live the way that we can live."

In time, an artist will come to LeClaire to paint a mural on the Freedom Rock, and names of veterans will be embossed on bricks surrounding it.

Brach says this is a moment he will always remember. "As a veteran, to finally get recognition, it means a lot [...] I've lived here for 20 years and this is the best thing that's ever happened."

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/FreedomRockTourScottCountyIowa

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