Pioneer Day

Pioneer Day.  A celebration that I have always loved, ever since I was a kid.  It’s a celebration here in Utah of the day the Pioneers finally reached the Salt Lake valley.  July 24, 1847.  Also known as the Days of’ ’47.

Growing up in Bountiful, Utah…. it meant 2 days of celebration.  On the 23rd of July there was a big parade down Main Street at 6pm.  The parade would end in Bountiful City Park where the rest of the festivities would begin.  The park we set up similar to a carnival,  but the rides weren’t as big and fancy as they are now….. though small in comparison they were a whole lot of fun!  There were booths with food and games besides the rides.  The Pace’s Dairy Ann truck would be there selling their famous ice cream out of the back of that freezer truck.  We would spend a little time there on the night of the parade and then I could hardly wait till the next day to head back down and spend most of the day there again!  Of course, the morning would first be spent watching the Days of ’47 Parade in Salt Lake on TV.  This parade was much bigger than the one in Bountiful, though many of the same floats would be in it.  I believe it’s the 4th or 5th largest parade in the nation.  So many great memories.

As a kid, I’m not sure I really appreciated the real meaning of this holiday.  I don’t remember really being taught a lot about my family history as far as the Pioneers go, and yet I learned much later that my Mom’s Mother was a member of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers.  I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t taken the time to research the history behind that connection.  Apparently it wasn’t passed down to my Mom either, since she doesn’t know any fact either. Strange.

I have read histories and seen movie renditions of the history of the pioneers, so I am familiar with the sacrifices they made to get here.  All Pioneers, in general, made many sacrifices to travel West….. but the Mormon Pioneers endured many hardships in regards to much persecution along the way.  It was persecution that drove them away from the beautiful communities they had built up in the East.  It’s a sad history when you learn about what they went through and what they endured.  It amazes me that people can treat others that way, and yet, our history books are full of unkind behavior toward others, not just the Pioneers.  And still today, much of that behavior remains in some places.   Man’s ego is an interesting thing….. but that’s another topic!

I’m grateful for the sacrifices of those early Pioneers that came and settled the Salt Lake Valley and subsequently, the whole state of Utah and beyond.  They endured many hardships along the trail as well as in the development of this valley.  They are amazing examples of courage and faith.  I’m grateful for all that they did to pave the way for the better life that we now live.  And…. I’m grateful that we take the time to honor them with celebrations that hold so many cherished memories for me.  Though we probably don’t focus enough on their sacrifices during this time…. it does give us cause to stop and reflect and have reason to spend time together as families celebrating our heritage and that of the valley.  And I think that’s the way they would have wanted it.

I am Grateful!  How are you?



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