Clovis Freedom Fest

July 5, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
People swarmed into Veteran's Memorial Stadium at Buchanan Friday night, where thousands gathered to celebrate the 4th of July with fireworks."It's important to show your pride for your country. It's mainly for the kids, the fireworks," said Leon Van Oostende of Fresno. And as families eagerly waited for fireworks, there was also a hope the kids would learn about freedom.

Paul Sullivan brought his 5 year old grandson. "At 5 years old, he doesn't quite understand the meaning of independence, 1776, and all that, but it's the beginning."

Shelly Banta of Clovis said her daughter asked what the 4th of July was all about Friday, and her dad had a great answer. "We're celebrating America's birthday. We're kind of trying to teach them about our freedom, especially in this time of war."

Buchanan High School in Clovis has lost 6 service members in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And as the crowd celebrated the 4th of July Friday night, many thoughts were with their families. "It's something we think about all of the time," said Banta.

"Certainly, for those who are close to the Buchanan community, that's something that will tug at their heartstrings," said Sullivan.

The Freedom Fest in Clovis is an annual event, but this is the first year the event has been held in the newly renamed Veterans Memorial Stadium. The Clovis Unified School Board voted to rename the stadium last year in honor of all Clovis Veterans.


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