Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has issued the following Pioneer Day message to Utahns:
вЂњLife ElevatedвЂќ is more than a slogan in our state. It is about our high expectations, work ethic and standard of living. And it reflects the pride we have in our past and the optimism we share for our future.
And why not.
Utah consistently ranks at or near the top in surveys that measure quality of life. We have the вЂњgreatest snow on earthвЂќ in our Wasatch Mountains and the вЂњgreatest earth on showвЂќ in our canyons and five national parks.
Our stateвЂ™s greatest resource, though, is its people. Utahns are known across the nation and throughout the world for their friendliness, industry, integrity and ingenuity. We are pioneers who are increasingly leading the way for others to follow.
Even so, the high ground we occupy as a state and as a people is not an indication that we are smarter or better than others. It is due, in large measure, to the legacy bequeathed to us
from Utahns who have gone on before and shown us the way. It is because, to paraphrase 17th-century scientist Sir Isaac Newton, we are standing on the shoulders of giants. That is why we celebrate Pioneer Day. It is an occasion to honor the extraordinary men and women whose example and sacrifice laid the foundation that has made our state such a great place to live, raise a family and do business.
Of course the centerpiece of that celebration is the Days of вЂ™47 Parade, which commemorates the official arrival of the pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847. On that day, sick in a wagon driven by Wilford Woodruff, Mormon leader Brigham Young looked over the valley from Big Mountain and said, вЂњThis is the right place, drive on.вЂќ
They did, and tens of thousands followed. They came by covered wagon, by handcart and on foot, and they came seeking freedom, religious liberty and a better way of life. Some of them died en route, succumbing to sickness or the elements and were buried on windswept or snow-covered plains. Thousands more pressed on to reach the Salt Lake Valley.
Later, with the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad in 1869, even more settlers flooded the Great Basin to build homes, raise families, grow crops, and establish schools,
businesses and places of worship вЂ“ and, as a result, our state has blossomed right along with its people.
As much as we owe those early settlers, though, we would be remiss if we overlooked the Utahns who came later and built on their legacy. These pioneers came from diverse backgrounds and a variety of faiths вЂ“ people such as Episcopal Bishop Daniel Tuttle who founded schools and the stateвЂ™s first public hospital, St. MarkвЂ™s; Florence Ellinwood Allen, who was born in Utah and became the first woman to serve on a state supreme court and the second to serve as a federal judge; and Philo T. Farnsworth, the inventor of the electronic television.
Other, more recent pioneers include University of Utah professor Mario Capecchi, a Nobel Prize laureate for medicine; former hockey star Steve Konowalchuk, the first player born and raised in Utah to make it to the NHL; Harvey Fletcher, credited with inventing the hearing aid; and business leaders and philanthropists Jon Huntsman, Sr. and the late Larry H. Miller, just to name a few.
Thanks to these and so many other Utah pioneers, our lives have been enriched and elevated.В Now it is our turn. Just as they inspired and lifted us, it is incumbent on each of us to inspire and lift others.
So as we gather with family and friends this July 24В th, may we not only remember these remarkable Utah pioneers, but reflect on what we can do to follow in their footsteps and entrust their вЂ“ and our — heritage to future generations.
Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah