"The spirit of the pioneers is alive in Utah," declared Becky Edwards, chairwoman of the Days of '47 Youth Parade committee.
And that spirit, she added, reflects on both the direct descendants of pioneers and first-generation pioneers.
"Perseverance, dedication and courage," Sister Edwards told the Church News, are basic pioneer values that still apply today and were well represented during this year's Days of '47 Youth Parade held July 17 in downtown Salt Lake City. During what has been billed as the largest youth parade in the nation, more than 5,000 children and youth walked a section of Second East alongside some 50 parade entries, all of which were based on the parade's theme, "Pioneer Traditions Bridges to Our Future."
For example, children of the Taylorsville Utah Stake walked alongside a gold, blue and red float decorated with a musical theme to pay tribute to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's 75th anniversary. The parade announcer, in introducing this float, with its individual theme, "Music the note that binds us," said, "We know from pioneer journals that music, both vocal and instrumental, played an important role as the pioneers crossed the plains."
Pioneer industry was also touted as the Sandy Utah Alta View Stake sponsored a farm float complete with a barn and replicas of farm animals while children walked alongside in farmers' costumes.
What pleases Sister Edwards most, however, is that "some of the community and ethnic groups, as repeat entries, are starting to feel ownership of this event. That's exciting."
Most continents, she added, were represented including Asia, Africa and Europe as well as various religious faiths, including Islam and Hindu, in this year's parade. The 2004 youth parade, Sister Edwards emphasized, is a "celebration of children everywhere."
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