I have always had a love/hate relationship with Pioneer Day for one reason: I am a selfish, spotlight-craving little thing.
July 25th is my birthday.
It means parades and fireworks, yes. But it also means friends have family plans on the weekend of my birthday... grrr.
I have never quite appreciated Pioneer Day as much as I should have. Tonight I was reading my Great Great Great Grandpa's journal and after pages and pages of entries about how far they walked that day and how the weather was I came to this part, and okay so maybe I cried a little.
Wednesday, 21 - We soon left the ravine and went up a steep hill about 1/2 a mile up. This is now called the Little Mountain.
From the top of this hill, like Moses on Pisgah's top, we could see a part of the Salt Lake Valley, our long anticipated home. We did truly rejoice at the sight. We then descended down a steep hill into another ravine and camped. We went that day about seven miles.
Thursday, July 22, 1847 - This morning a part of the camp that we had left came up with us and others had to stop because of sickness. Our move has slow for it took all the able-bodied men from one-half to three-fourths of the time to make the road so that we could possibly get along. It took us till 4 p.m. to fix the road and go about four miles. We had to pass through a canyon that was full of timber mostly of small maple and the bluffs came almost together at the bottom. And when we finally got through, it seemed like bursting from the confines of prison walls into the beauties of a world of pleasure and freedom.
We now had entered the valley and our vision could extend far and wide. We were filled with joy and rejoicing and thanksgiving. We could see to the west, about 30 miles distance, the Salt Lake, stretching itself northwest to a distance unknown to us. And the valley extending far to the north and south. No timber was to be seen only in the mountains. We went on west about two miles and camped on a creek with plenty of grass and some brush for fire. Brother Pratt and others who went out in the morning to explore the country soon joined us. They reported that they found but little timber only what was in the mountains.
Friday, July 23 - We went a short distance north to a small grove on a little stream and camped. Brother P. Pratt called the camp together and dedicated this country to the Lord. We then commenced plowing to put in a little early corn, buckwheat, potatoes, peas, beans, etc.
The soil was good and before night we had put in seed. We felt to thank the Lord that we had been preserved on our journey;that no lives were lost, that we had found a good country of land where we thought our enemies could never find us and where we could worship God unmolested. According to our measure we are 1040 miles from Winter Quarters.
Saturday, July 24, 1847 - About noon, Brother Young and company arrived and we had a time of rejoicing together without restraint.
Pioneer Day isn't just some lame Utah holiday where I happen to be able to legally purchase fireworks for my birthday the next day...
It is the one day set aside to remember and reflect on this very journey my Great Great Great Grandpa Levi took with my Great Great Great Great Grand Uncle Brigham. (Whose mutual descendant, my grandpa, wouldn't be born for 4 more generations.)
See why I love studying my genealogy?!