Pioneer and Patriotic Observances
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“Pioneer and Patriotic Observances,” Ensign, Oct. 1999, 76–77

Pioneer and Patriotic Observances

Pioneer Day in Salt Lake City

On 24 July President Hinckley and his wife, Marjorie, led Salt Lake City’s Days of ’47 Parade, held annually to commemorate the 1847 arrival of the pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley. The parade included floats created by 20 stakes, six of which won awards from parade judges.

Later on Pioneer Day, President Hinckley dedicated a new monument at This Is the Place Heritage Park near the mouth of Emigration Canyon. Titled Journey’s End, the monument features a heroic-size bronze sculpture by Stanley J. Watts depicting a pioneer family kneeling in prayer next to their handcart. “I think none of us can really imagine for a moment that which they endured,” remarked President Hinckley. “I hope that we will always remember them. And let us read again and again, and read to our children or our children’s children, the accounts of those who suffered so much.” Also present at the dedication ceremony were Elders Russell M. Nelson and M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. About 4,000 people attended the event.

At the Days of ’47 luncheon held in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, President Hinckley paid tribute to Brigham Young and the pioneers. “The older I grow,” President Hinckley said, “the more I appreciate the absolute tremendous leadership of Brigham Young and those who were associated with him in laying the foundations of this great commonwealth which we call the state of Utah.” He asked listeners not to forget “the bravery, the courage, and the faith that it took to lead thousands and thousands of people to this unknown area to establish themselves and, in a very real and literal sense, make the desert blossom as a rose.”

Elder Perry Dedicates Family Sculpture

A heroic-size bronze sculpture titled Family and the Covenant was dedicated on 17 July in Logan, Utah, by Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Created by Bill L. Hill and located on the grounds of the Logan Tabernacle, the sculpture depicts a couple and their three children gazing toward the Logan Temple, which is visible on the eastern horizon. “May this monument we dedicate today remind each generation who will frequent Tabernacle Square in Logan, Utah, of the sacrifices of those who have given so much,” Elder Perry said. “May these noble pioneer virtues be successfully passed on with faith and with courage to each succeeding generation which follows in the noble, historic footprints of our pioneer forefathers.” He also remarked, “I wonder if the challenges of today are hard enough to build sufficient character to create a lasting heritage of values taught by our great early pioneers who entered this valley, those values of honesty, industry, and morality as dictated to us by the Lord.”

Elder Ballard Dedicates Hyrum Smith Statue

Following a patriotic program in Hyrum, Utah, Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles dedicated a new bronze statue of Hyrum Smith. “In all things, Hyrum sustained his younger brother Joseph,” said Elder Ballard. “And it was Joseph who penned as one of the fundamental tenants of our belief: ‘We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law’ (A of F 1:12). It was their desires to be law-abiding citizens that caused them to make the trip to Carthage and surrender themselves. … Even in giving their lives for the cause they espoused, Joseph and Hyrum did not speak against this great nation or its constitutional government; they only decried the mobocracy of those who refused to abide by its laws.” Located in a city park, the statue was created by D. J. Bawden and made possible by more than 200 community donors.

Elder Wirthlin Addresses Freedom Festival

“The Constitution of the United States is a divinely inspired document created by Founding Fathers, who were raised up by God to establish the United States of America,” said Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at the annual Freedom Festival patriotic service held on 4 July in Brigham Young University’s Marriott Center. “When was the last time that you read the Constitution of the United States, the Bill of Rights, or the Declaration of Independence? I am amazed, every time I read those sacred documents, how sound and thorough they are.” He continued: “I have a great love and respect for the Founding Fathers. They have always been heroes to me. I worry sometimes about young people who idolize entertainers and sports figures. … I challenge you to become as familiar with George Washington, John Adams, Patrick Henry, and Thomas Jefferson as you are with sports figures, actors, and rock stars. I marvel as I think about the miracles these great men accomplished.”

Reenactment in Quincy, Illinois

In the winter of 1839, about 5,600 Latter-day Saint refugees journeyed under threat of extermination from Missouri to Quincy, Illinois, where they were welcomed and sheltered. As part of the Quincy Heritage Celebration on 24 July 1999, an estimated 2,000 members participated in a reenactment of that exodus. The procession spanned the mile-long Memorial Bridge and continued another seven blocks into downtown Quincy. Many participants wore period costumes.

Speaking of the kindness of the people of Quincy, Elder Hugh W. Pinnock of the Seventy, North America Central Area President, noted that Quincy residents helped not only Latter-day Saints but “German immigrants, blacks traveling from the South, and Potawatome Indians.”

At the conclusion of the reenactment, thousands gathered in Washington Park to witness a program written by Nauvoo historian Michael Trapp. In a dramatization, descendants of prominent Church members played the roles of their ancestors, and Quincy mayor Chuck Sholz played the role of John Wood, an advocate of the Latter-day Saints. A temporary family history center was set up for community use, and several LDS musical groups performed in the park. Also in attendance were Elder John M. Madsen of the Seventy and two Area Authority Seventies, Elders Bruce Bingham and Kay Christensen.

On Pioneer Day, President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated a statue of a handcart family at Salt Lake City’s This Is the Place Heritage Park. (Photo by Gary M. McKellar, Deseret News.)

In Logan, Utah, Elder L. Tom Perry (left) dedicated a new monument to the pioneers. Also pictured, left to right: sculptor Bill L. Hill and project director Bartell W. Cardon. (Photo by R. Scott Lloyd, Church News.)

In Hyrum, Utah, Elder M. Russell Ballard dedicated a statue honoring Hyrum Smith, his great-great-grandfather. (Photo by R. Scott Lloyd, Church News.)