Freedom Festival to Honor Former POW

Freedom Festival to Honor Former POW

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Sam Penrod ReportingAmerica's Freedom festival in Provo is preparing for its biggest day tomorrow including the Grand Parade in the morning and Stadium of Fire tomorrow night. Tonight The Freedom Festival Gala will honor a former Prisoner of War held captive in Iraq.

Chief Warrant Officer Ron Young was held captive by Iraqis after his apache helicopter was shot down. Tonight, he and three others will be honored for their efforts to preserve freedom as a kick off to the Independence Day Celebration here in Provo.

Ronald Young spent three weeks as a prisoner of war in Iraq. Initially Young says he spent time praying and thinking about life, but eventually thought about what he was fighting for in Iraq.

Ron Young, Former POW: "I put my focus on the war, listening to bombing, tanks rolling by. I was trying to be a backseat cheerleader for the troops. When the bombing would get really loud and intense I would be a big woo-hoo to the guards to let them know they hadn't broken our will."

Now after fighting for freedom and losing his freedom for a time, Young says he has new appreciation for the founding fathers who fought for America's Independence.

Ron Young: "Back then they started a war not knowing if they were going to win it and I went to over to Iraq knowing we were going to kick some butt; so that for me brings a deep respect for they guys who got us our independence and ultimately fought for our freedom."

Freedom festival events resume tomorrow morning, with the Grand Parade at 9 am. Two hundred fifty thousand people are expected to line the parade route.

Tomorrow night, Stadium of Fire will be the finale to the Provo celebration. This year it will be seen around the world. At the invitation of the Pentagon, it will be transmitted to military installations worldwide.

John Whittaker, Producer, "Stadium of Fire: "They asked if we could broadcast this show to all the military bases and warships all over the world. We're really excited about that so we put together a TV team for this show."

That broadcast will only be available to military personnel.

Stadium of Fire is sold out, but the fireworks will be visible throughout Provo and are scheduled to begin at ten o’clock.

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