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September 19, 2017

PHOTO ESSAY

Photography is by Scot Facer Proctor and text by Maurine Proctor.

It is easy for those of us who live in the United States to take freedom for granted because we have lived in a country that has experienced more than 200 years of unparalleled liberty that most of humanity through the millennia of time have never experienced. Yet liberty is a fragile thing that has to be held onto and fought for, especially in a time when for 25 years universities have taught a version of our history that is critical of our founding, and celebrities and intellectual elites sometimes claim that America is not worth celebrating. That’s why Provo, Utah’s American Freedom Festival is not just a breath of fresh air, but a significant commitment by a community that seeks to celebrate, teach, honor and strengthen the traditional American values of family, freedom, God and country. People who experience the nearly 25 events that the festival sponsors each year know that here are hand-over-your-heart patriots who teach and honor America’s founding principles, an important message in a world where cynicism seems rampant even among those who have most benefited from a nation that embraces freedom. Among the Festival’s events is the annual production of the award-winning “Hope of America Student Showcase,” where thousands of elementary school children learn songs, dances and information about their American heritage, then participate in a large-scale performance at BYU’s Marriott Center for community members and family. The culminating event of the festival of the Stadium of Fire on the Fourth of July where tens of thousands of spectators fill LaVell Edwards stadium in Provo to be awed by fireworks and stirred by devotion to freedom. Join in the festival in this photographic essay.