Southern Utah Veterans Home hosts Freedom Eagle Monument dedication

IVINS — The Southern Utah Veterans Home in Ivins will host a community dedication ceremony Friday at 2 p.m. for the Freedom Eagle Monument. The monument is a bronze statue created by local artist Edward E. Hlavka. The event is open to the public.

Sculpture by Edward Hlavka that will be dedicated Friday at the Southern Utah Veterans Home, Undated | Photo courtesy of Dawn McLain, St. George News
Sculpture by Edward Hlavka that will be dedicated at the Southern Utah Veterans Home, date and location not specified | Photo courtesy of Dawn McLain, St. George News

In attendance will be Ivins City Mayor Chris Hart, Hlavka and Major General Jefferson Burton. Hart played a pivotal role in the creation of the Freedom Eagle Monument.

“I had the opportunity to tour a veteran’s facility in Ogden during the early stages of development for the Southern Utah Veterans Home,” Hart said. “The facility I toured had a Clock Tower monument onsite that was phenomenal. The staff explained that the monument was a symbol of freedom for their veterans to enjoy. That really resonated with me, and I wanted to bring the same type of inspiration to Ivins.”

During the development process, Hart presented the concept to the design team, and the Freedom Eagle Monument idea quickly went from idea to project.

Hart reached out to Hlavka, the same artist who created the magnificent “Five Running Stallions” piece seen on the Snow Canyon Parkway roundabout entering Ivins. A creative genius known for capturing the essence of each piece, Hlavka accepted the project, and Hart said he truly took it to heart.

Hlavka is well known throughout Southern Utah and has been commissioned on such high-profile pieces as “Ivins Now and Then” for Ivins City, “Of Earth & Sky” for Richard and Cynthia Hughes, “Five Running Stallions” and “Mother Cougar and Cubs” for Split Rock Company, and many other nationally commissioned pieces.

Sculptor Edward Hlavka's  Freedom Eagle monument will be dedicated Friday at the Southern Utah Veterans Home in Ivins, Undated | Photo courtesy of Dawn McLain, St. George News
Sculptor Edward Hlavka’s Freedom Eagle Monument will be dedicated at the Southern Utah Veterans Home in Ivins, date and location not specified | Photo courtesy of Dawn McLain, St. George News

The Freedom Eagle Monument is a 10-foot bronze statue of an eagle soaring gracefully in flight above a sandstone pillar rising almost 20 feet. Once dedicated, the monument will be a symbol of the freedom all Americans enjoy and a beacon of pride for the residents of the Southern Utah Veterans Home, who have fought and sacrificed greatly.

“It is impossible to show the sheer magnitude of respect and appreciation we have for our veteran residents,” Jerry Olson, Southern Utah Veterans Home administrator, said, “but we do hope the Freedom Eagle Monument will become a constant reminder of how grateful we are for the service and dedication of our veterans.”

Now, after more than two years in the making, the eagle is complete. The nearly $100,000 project was a fundraising labor of love for all involved.

“As the building was constructed, commemorative bricks were sold that will surround the base beneath the sculpture,” Hart said. “It is exciting and heartwarming to be a part of the Freedom Eagle Monument. I am thankful to everyone who participated in bringing this project to life and to the Southern Utah Veterans Home.”

The Southern Utah Veterans Home is located at 160 N. 200 East in Ivins.

Event details

  • What: Freedom Eagle Monument dedication
  • When: Friday, May 29 | 2 p.m.
  • Where: Southern Utah Veterans Home, 160 N. 200 East in Ivins
  • Admission: Free

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