patriotic service
By Julia Thompson
Jul 04, 2018

Patriotic Service with President Owen at the Freedom Festival in Provo

The Freedom Festival is an event that happens in Provo each July. People from all over Utah gather to celebrate our freedoms. Some of the events at this multi-day celebration include Balloon Fest, Freedom Run, Patriotic Service, and Cries of Freedom the Musical. The Colonial Heritage Festival portion of the gathering is an old fashion style celebration. It features exhibits, debates, demonstrations, and storytelling. Military enthusiasts can see cannon firing and see reenactments. There is also the Grand Parade on the fourth of July where nearly 300,000 spectators gather to see various performers and high-quality floats. The largest event of the festival is the Stadium of Fire, headlined this year by OneRepublic in LaVell Edwards Stadium. The performance is followed by the largest stadium firework show in the nation.

patriotic service

Patriotic Service

But, the most inspirational part of the Freedom Festival is the Patriotic Service. This event is held at the Brigham Young University Marriott Center. The keynote speaker this year was Stephen W. Owen, the Young Men General President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Patriotic Service also features musical performances from the 23rd Army Band of the Utah National Guard and Evie Clair, a finalist on last season’s America’s Got Talent. 


One of our Council employees John Gailey was able to attend this event. He has shared some of his thoughts with us.

“This past Sunday, I was able to attend one of my favorite Freedom Festival events – the Patriotic Service held at the BYU Marriott Center. This is an event that I have attended for many years and one that I encourage everyone to include in their holiday activities. This year, as has been done in many of the past years, the event was kicked off with some wonderful patriotic music performed by the 23rd Army Band of the Utah National Guard. Amazing! But the music talent didn’t stop there.

We were blessed to hear Evie Clair sing multiple songs. If you remember, Evie was one of the America’s Got Talent finalists last year. And she was only 13 years old! Many dignitaries were also in attendance, including the Governor of Utah, Gary Herbert and his wife, Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi and her husband, among others. One of my personal favorites of the event was hearing from this year’s winner of the Youth Speech Contest, Holly Gerber, who is a Junior at Sky Ridge High School in Lehi. She talked about the definition of ‘Created Equal’ and how that is not the same as being the same. She discussed the importance of free speech and practicing civility as we discuss hard topics with others who may have differing opinions. What timely and valuable ideas. See her speech here on YouTube.

The keynote speaker was Stephen W. Owen, Young Men General President for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Brother Owen talked about Malachi’s (of the Old Testament) promise that the hearts of the children would be turned to the fathers, and that the hearts of the fathers would be turned to the children. He talked about the importance of those who have sacrificed for us. He also reminded us of our responsibilities to turn our hearts to the upcoming generation – to help them and guide them. It was a very inspiring message! If you have not taken the opportunity to attend this free, annual event, plan for the 2019 event now!”

Even when the Fourth of July has passed, keep in mind your duty to your country. Remember the sacrifice the brave men and woman that have fought to keep our freedoms.


Author: Julia Thompson | BA in English from BYU | Fund Development Associate | Boy Scouts of America, Utah National Parks Council

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