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Ottumwa Stories: Honoring Those Who Serve

Published July 1, 2021

Ottumwa is proud of its citizens who are serving or have served in the United States Armed Forces. On your visit to our city this summer, there are several places to find memorials and tributes to our local servicemembers and their dedication to our country.


Military and Veteran Banners, Main Street – Main Street Ottumwa is showing their appreciation for veterans and military personnel and their families who have ties to Ottumwa with personalized banners on three blocks of Main Street. Each banner includes a photo of the servicemember, their name, branch and dates of military service.


Antique Airplane Association’s Air Power Museum, 22001 Bluegrass Road - Visit this 20,000 square-foot museum on 30 acres of an antique airfield. It features various periods of military and civilian aviation with models, engines, propellers, photos and original art. There are also many aircrafts on display, including World War II models. 


Freedom Rock, 102 Church St. – Painted by Ray "Bubba" Sorensen II in 2014 as part of the 99-county Freedom Rock Tour, Wapello County’s Freedom Rock can be found in front of Bridge View Center. The rock includes many local moments in military history, including a Gold Star Banner, American flag, bald eagle, Tuskegee Airmen, National Guard Unit 833rd and Naval Air Station Ottumwa. 


Civil War Carving, Ottumwa Cemetery, 1302 N. Court St. – Iowa chainsaw sculptor Gary Keenan crafted the 10-foot tall Civil War soldier from a tree that needed to be taken down. The tree was around 220 years old, meaning it was living during the Civil War and was perhaps seen by the soldiers it now overlooks in the Civil War section of the cemetery.


The Wapello County Soldiers Monument in Central Park - Located in Central Park on Fourth Street, this 25-foot monument was erected in 1919 and dedicated to the Heroic Sons, Soldiers and Sailors of Wapello County. Known locally as the Eagle Monument, a 15-foot shaft is topped by a 3-foot high bronze eagle with an 8-foot wingspan.


All Veterans Memorial in Greater Ottumwa Park - What began as a simple flag and pole to honor those who served in Desert Shield/Storm is now an All Veterans Memorial in Greater Ottumwa Park, dedicated to all who have served in the Armed Forces. The stone tribute features granite slabs, red mosaic stone and steel circles representing each branch of the United States military. Also in the memorial are a large cannon from the Spanish-American War, a U.S. Navy anti-aircraft gun, a flowering tree and three flagpoles.

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