Tribute To Heroes Ceremony

One of our long standing signature events is the Tribute to Heroes Ceremony. This event recognizes the amazing heroes and individuals that have made positive contributions to our community! Heroes that have been nominated and selected will be honored at our Tribute to Heroes in-person event (Thursday, June 15th, 2023) at the Doubletree, will be featured on KCRG, and act as Grand Marshal in the Freedom Festival Parade (returning to downtown Cedar Rapids Saturday, June 24th, 2023)!


After the success of our online Tribute to Heroes Silent Auction Fundraiser in 2022, we’ve decided to keep the fundraiser online in 2023! MORE DETAILS TO COME! A link to look at all of our amazing baskets available for purchase will be available early June! Auction closes at 9 PM on Thursday, June 15th, 2023. You do not need to be in attendance to bid/win. Winning baskets can be paid for and picked up at the Tribute to Heroes in-person event. All proceeds go toward our 501c3 non-profit organization! Thank you to all that donated items!

The Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival is pleased to announce the return of the annual Tribute to Heroes Dinner and the event’s Keynote Speaker—former Iowa City West volleyball coach, Kathy Bresnahan.

Coach Kathy Bresnahan will share the story of the life-changing events that she and her players experienced in the fall of 2011. The team was looking forward to defending their state volleyball crown until the death of their charismatic leader, Caroline “Line” Found, left the team reeling with grief and searching for a way to move forward. Coach Bresnahan’s personal narrative will explore how her school, community, and team worked together to honor the legacy of Caroline – a young woman who, even in death, taught everyone how to be kind and “Live Like Line.”

There will also be an additional presentation from Ray “Bubba” Sorenson II, the artist behind the Freedom Rocks featured in all 99 counties of Iowa. The original Freedom Rock, established in 1999, is a large boulder in rural Iowa which is repainted every year with a different message thanking our nation’s Veterans and honoring their service to our country. The artist, Ray “Bubba” Sorensen II, was inspired by the movie Saving Private Ryan and wanted to give Veterans unique recognition on Memorial Day.


Atlantic Bottling Company, Cedar Memorial, West Side Transport, along with our Presenting Sponsor Hy-Vee and media sponsors KCRG, KMRY, KGYM, Smart FM, and Z102.9!

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