Today (July 24) is Pioneer Day.
For those who didn’t grow up in Utah, parts of Idaho or as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, head scratching might be in order.
For those who did, heads are nodding as memories of reenacting pioneer treks, sleeping on the ground and catching wild rabbits with bare hands percolate through the mind.
It’s a state holiday in Utah and most businesses are closed as Utah-ians celebrate Brigham Young and company’s entry into the Salt Lake Valley in 1847.
Mormons are big on remembering their ancestors, taking time out of their busy schedules to do geneology, keeping family stories alive with the telling and retelling of tales — I have a great-great-great-great-great uncle who was a horse thief and another great-great-great-great-great uncle who was a sheriff. You guessed it, the sheriff hung the horse thief — and inventing holidays to take more time off of work.
Other people honor their ancestors as well, but Mormons; they take it to a whole new level.
I don’t know if there are any pioneers in my bloodline, but I respect those brave men, women and children who walked or rode across the plains, through the mountains and over the hills, all the same.
I think we should have Pioneer Day all across the U.S. — especially in the western states that owe their existence to pioneer stock.
For us Oregonians it could be held on August 15. (Some may suggest that it be held on February 14 to commemorate the admittance of Oregon to the Union, but who wants to have a parade in February?)
We could have a parade, fireworks, barbecues, parties, a paid day off from work ... anything and everything that accompanies a great holiday.
It’s probably not going to happen so I’ll continue to honor my pioneer heritage on July 24 with all the Utah-ians and Mormons across the world.
I’m certainly grateful for all pioneers; whether they were on the Mormon Trail, the Oregon Trail or the California Trail. Their hard work and dedication made it possible for me to live here today. Thank you.