Happy Pioneer Day!
As Utahns gather today for celebration and fun, let us never forget the wonderful men and women who sacrificed greatly to pave the way for us to live in the most beautiful and truly remarkable place in the country.
I am proud of my pioneer heritage and the legacy of faith and fortitude my ancestors demonstrated. It has had a tremendous impact on my life and the lives of my family, and I know many in Utah feel the same about their family’s history.
My great-grandfather Jeremiah Hatch was one of the first white settlers to arrive in the Ashley Valley, which we now know as Vernal, Utah. Jeremiah quickly became friends with the Native Americans living there and became known as “Uncle Jerry” to many for the hand of friendship and warmth he extended. He worked hard to cultivate the land and establish the wonderful valley that exists today.
Utah’s history is replete with examples of thousands of men, women and children who walked a challenging path, often burying loved ones along the way, to come to the valley of promise.
The story of the Mormon pioneers is very much an American story. It is the story of a quest for freedom and liberty. It is the story of those who made the most of the opportunities around them – those who built, and those who planted. It is the story of those who saw and cultivated the potential of this state.
The Utah pioneers were ordinary people who were called upon to meet extraordinary challenges. Let us always remember and honor their quiet courage, unshakable devotion, and their lives of humility and devotion.
Although the original path has now been paved by many generations of Utahns, we are still on a trek to find a better future for our families, communities, state and nation. I not only honor and sincerely appreciate my forefathers who sacrificed so much for a place to call their own; I want to pay tribute to the many men and women across our state who still strive each day to make our state and nation a better place for all.
Thank you for your devotion to the ideals that have defined Utah for almost 170 years. May God continue to bless our wonderful state and its citizens.