Exponent Classics: Pioneer Day
The 24th of July is fraught with memories that are very dear to the hearts of this people. The anniversary of the arrival here of the brave, heroic pioneers who explored this mountain region when there was no trace of civilization, must ever be looked upon as a day we should celebrate. When we consider, too, all the circumstances that caused the exodus of this people from homes and associations dear to their hearts, and that they came here because they could have no abiding place among the so-called Christians in this boasted land of freedom and religious liberty, it calls forth some of the strongest and tenderest emotions of the human soul. The people came here a band of exiles, fleeing from religious persecution; willing to brave any danger, any peril for the sake of the principles they had espoused that were dearer even than life itself.
It is meet to celebrate the day with songs and rejoicings, and to teach our children that it is an epoch ever to be remembered by them as the birth of freedom to the oppressed. Here they planted the standard of liberty, and the stars and stripes were unfurled to the breeze on that memorable day. Thirty-six years have elapsed since that time, and many changes have been wrought during that period, some of which the pioneers had never dreamed. Yet so far peace has reigned, notwithstanding many attempts have been made by wicked and unprincipled men to take from this people what few privileges they are permitted to enjoy as a Territory.
At the present time perhaps there is a stronger influence brought to bear than at any date previous. The incessant clamor of politicians and office seekers, and also of ministers of religion with small salaries sent out here to do missionary work among the Mormons, has finally succeeded so far as to secure inimical legislation in Congress, and not satisfied even with that, they still keep up the hue and cry, that something further must be done. The fact is this class of people are determined if possible to wrest from the “Mormon” every right, not only of citizenship, but the liberties and privileges which every man of honor would rather die than lose. The children of the Latter-day Saints should know as much as possible, that which their parents have suffered and endured to establish themselves here and why they came. And as a matter of history and to commemorate the 24th of July it is fitting to bring our children together, that they may be duly impressed with the importance attached to the entrance of the pioneers into these valleys, and with the significance of the fact that the Lord led with a strong arm and an outstretched hand his people up from the land of their enemies to a place of refuge and that to Him alone they should look for safety and protection in the time of need.