ST. GEORGE — In a statement from The White House Tuesday, President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump recognized Pioneer Day and the “extraordinary pioneers” who settled Utah.
The Mormon pioneers who fled persecution by traveling from Illinois to Utah in the 1800s led the way for nearly 70,000 people to seek religious freedom and a better life in the American West, Trump said in the statement.
“Our Nation honors the ingenuity, industry, and unwavering commitment to faith of all those who endured frontier hardships. These pioneers worked tirelessly to transform the arid desert landscape into a blossoming new home where their families could live in peace and prosperity.”
July 24, which has long been a day for Utahns to honor the pioneers who founded the state, is a time to remember “the extraordinary pioneers who uprooted their lives and undertook an incredible leap of faith into the unknown,” Trump said.
The pioneers’ legacy is reflected with the hundreds of cities that continue to thrive in the 21st century across the American West, Trump said.
Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch observed Pioneer Day by speaking on the Senate floor Tuesday. He introduced a Senate resolution to recognize the sacrifices of Mormon pioneers in their pursuit of religious liberty.
“I hope the Senate will join me in commending the pioneers for their example of courage, industry and faith that continues to inspire people throughout the world,” Hatch said. “I hope we not only remember these remarkable pioneers, but reflect on what we can do to follow in their footsteps and ensure their legacy lives on in us and in future generations.”
Pioneer Day marks the date in 1847 when Brigham Young and other Mormon pioneers, many pulling handcarts, ended their treacherous journey across the country from Illinois and discovered the Salt Lake Valley. Many pioneers also then settled the St. George area, where the first Mormon temple was built in the American West.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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