Members of Congress were reminded of the Church's pioneer heritage and spirit in comments entered in the House record July 24 by at least two representatives, James V. Hansen, R-Utah; and Richard H. Stallings, D-Idaho.
In his House record entry, Rep. Hansen noted, "Pioneer Day is a celebration of our past, a past which is reflected in the present, and provides our hope for the future."The men, women and children who braved the rugged journey across the plains and the mountains embody the spirit and soul of our state. . . . They overcame the obstacles of the times to carve out a future and a state from an unyielding environment. That spirit is a part of Utah today, and it is that pioneer spirit we honor today.
"When the first settlers drove their wagons into Salt Lake Valley in 1847, it marked the beginning of Utah. Originally known as `Deseret,' Utah began its long history of growth and settlement which continues even today. Growing as one with the land, giving as well as taking, Utah exemplifies growth in harmony with her surroundings.
"The marks of these early stewards of our lands remain today. From beautiful temples to functioning irrigation systems a hundred or more years old; from the foundations of old buildings to carefully restored homes and businesses, the past in Utah is preserved. The people of Utah take pride in their past, for they realize that by preserving the memories of the past today, they can keep alive the spirit and hope for tomorrow."
In his tribute to the pioneers, Rep. Stallings noted that July 24 is a day "to remember and pay respect to those who settled and colonized the West. . . .
"Having been hated and persecuted for their religious beliefs in the East, the Mormons finally packed up and headed westward. . . . Whether they pulled a handcart, drove a covered wagon, or simply walked, these pioneers came with a determination and a fighting spirit which stirs admiration in the hearts of all who are familiar with their trek. . . .
"On Pioneer Day, we remember the sacrifices of those men and women who boldly opened new territory and who tamed the wilderness in order that we can enjoy it so much today. We cannot thank them enough for their efforts. These pioneers colonized much of the West and helped to lay the foundation for my state of Idaho. Descendants of the pioneers pay tribute to their ancestors on this special day. May the pioneer spirit continue with us all."