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'Spirit of the pioneers' reflects on everyone

More than 5,000 march in 2004 youth parade

"The spirit of the pioneers is alive in Utah," declared Becky Edwards, chairwoman of the Days of '47 Youth Parade committee.

The Holladay Stake float passes through downtown during the Childrens parade in Salt Lake City Saturday afternoon. Chris Bergin/ Deseret Morning News (Submission date: 07/17/2004)
The Holladay Stake float passes through downtown during the Childrens parade in Salt Lake City Saturday afternoon. Chris Bergin/ Deseret Morning News (Submission date: 07/17/2004) Photo: Deseret Morning News

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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Makila Gibson takes part in the Centerville North Stake float during the Childrens parade in downtown Salt Lake City Saturday afternoon. Chris Bergin/ Deseret Morning News (Submission date: 07/17/2004)
Makila Gibson takes part in the Centerville North Stake float during the Childrens parade in downtown Salt Lake City Saturday afternoon. Chris Bergin/ Deseret Morning News (Submission date: 07/17/2004) Photo: Deseret Morning News
The Cannon Stake float drives down 500 South during the Childrens parade in downtown Salt Lake City Saturday afternoon. Chris Bergin/ Deseret Morning News (Submission date: 07/17/2004)
The Cannon Stake float drives down 500 South during the Childrens parade in downtown Salt Lake City Saturday afternoon. Chris Bergin/ Deseret Morning News (Submission date: 07/17/2004) Photo: Deseret Morning News

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