In the early spring my two granddaughters called to ask me a favor: They had been selected to ride on a float for the children's parade in Salt Lake City, and they wanted to know if I would make some pioneer outfits for them. Of course, I said yes. I sewed the outfits and delivered them in April. Their mother reported that the girls looked cute in their outfits and had fun riding the float and throwing candy to the people along the route.
The Days of 47 Celebration or Pioneer Day is a huge event throughout Utah, and many different communities hold special events. There are many different categories to the celebration including concerts, parades, picnics, games, rodeos, and royalty. Families enjoy sharing historical stories together and joining in groups to share the special holiday.
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints celebrate July 24 each year as Pioneer Day. Brigham Young reached the Great Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847, and declared, "This is the place. Drive on." Brigham Young later said that he had seen the valley and Ensign Peak in a vision and recognized it when he saw it. The Mormon pioneers believed that God led them to the Great Salt Lake Valley in order that they would have a refuge from the violence of mobs and other people who did not like them.
God prepared places of safety for His people at numerous times in history. He still helps those who love Him to find the right place to live and work. "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him" (1 Corinthians 2:9).
President Gordon B. Hinckley said, "The future is ahead. As great things were expected of the pioneers, so are they of us. We note what they did with what they had. We have so much more, with an overwhelming challenge to go on and build the kingdom of God. We are engaged in a great consuming crusade for truth and goodness" (Stand A Little Taller, 216).
Pioneers are people who lead the way and prepare a place for those who follow them. The Mormon Pioneers left civilization and moved into unknown territory in order to escape persecution and to make a new home. They worked diligently and made the "desert blossom as a rose." It is fitting that there is a day to remember the pioneers who settled our nation, but it is more important that we are pioneers in making life better for those who will follow us.