Last month at the Iowa State Fair, a two-foot-tall bell was forged to honor past, present, and future members of the military. Some of the metal used to create the Spirit of Iowa Tribute Bell came from commemorative coins, service dog tags, and other artifacts from members of the military and their families.
Next month, the bell begins traveling to cities throughout the state. Executive director for the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs Jodi Tymeson says the bell will be lent to anyone who wants to display it to honor Iowa veterans.
"The bell was built to travel around the state of Iowa to honor veterans," he says. "We do have a policy that governs the use of the bell and a check out and check in process because whoever takes the bell, of course, then assumes liability for the safe keeping of the bell."
The department will not transport the 255 pound bell, but they do provide a custom made trailer. "Whoever’s gonna borrow the bell needs to have a vehicle in good working order and know how to tow a trailer. We work through all those details with people before they will come to borrow the bell," says Tymeson.
The bell’s first stop is in October as part of a sendoff ceremony for a Boone County Freedom Flight. The Department of Veterans Affairs will post future appearances on social media.