Remembering the Mormon pioneer heritage, history 170 years later


By Holly Coombs

holly@ironcountytoday.com

For those as transplants to this state, July 24 might seem a little odd at first, but to us Utahans it’s known to be a huge part of the state heritage and history.

In February 1846, the pioneers and early members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints made their 1,300-mile journey that would take nearly 18-months from Nauvoo, Illinois way to the Salt Lake City valley. Thereafter, they settled many of the communities in the state and every year since their history and heritage is celebrated.

July 24, 1847 was the day they celebrated the end of their journey and Brigham Young proclaimed “This is the place!”

In Iron County, many themes and celebrations took place to celebrate that history and heritage.

A remembrance of the long journey the pioneers made was celebrated in a one-mile run in Cedar City and Beaver.

One young runner was just excited to cross the finish-line at the mile-run in Beaver, knowing he’d get a medal.

Brixxon Roberts, 3,  celebrates his finish in his first one-mile run in Beaver on July 24 |Photo courtesy of Emilee Roberts

“I knew I could do it,” Brixxon Roberts, 3-year-old resident of Parowan, said.

Roberts’ mother, Emilee said he was so excited to run and she was surprised he woke up as early as he did.

“We had to leave Parowan at 5:45 a.m., but he was so happy to do it,” Emilee Roberts said.

After the races, heritage essay winners from local elementary schools were presented their awards for their work about their ancestors at the Cedar City Rock Church at 8 a.m. Monday.

Cedar City Temple President Dan Jones and his wife JoAnn spoke of the blessings of the pioneer history and the coming of the Cedar City Temple.

At 10 a.m., many decorated floats made their way down Main Street. With themes ranging from “Heritage,” “Service is Love,” “Press Forward with Courage” and “Forging the Future by Remembering the Past.”

Pioneer, Mexican and Polynesian cultures danced and marched down the parade route.

Remembering the importance of heritage and the life given today were emphasized as part of the celebration.

Polynesian family performs in the Cedar City 24th of July Parade | Photo by Corey Baumgartner, Iron County Today

The theme “Come to the mountain of the lord to save the souls of those who’ve left this world,” with temple replicas resonated throughout the Cedar City Parade, as the coming of the open house and dedication is within months.

The importance of temples dates back to the beginning of the LDS faith, as they stand as proxies for ancestors to perform baptisms, sealing of families and married couples.

When the pioneers made their way to the Salt Lake Valley, a temple was the first priority, but took 40 years for the temple to complete. During that time, other temples spotted the state, including the St. George LDS Temple.

Activities in the park followed in Cedar City with food games, races and other fun.

Enoch started its celebration at 4 p.m. with a parade, games, food and fireworks but was not available for reporting by press time.

While, the pioneers made their way to this country 170 years ago, this holiday we remember what they gave those of us now living here and what they sacrificed for their future generations to live happily.

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