today is july 24/pioneer day. in utah (religious or not), that means a day off work for some. utah based companies, state employees, and a few other lucky ones get the day off. today is about so much more than working or having the day off, the rodeos and fireworks and BBQs. it's a day for remembering the history of the state of utah-both the establishment of the state as well as the religious history. it's a day to celebrate and remember the pioneers who gave up everything they had-their homes, possessions, friends, and sometimes families in the name of religion. they sacrificed literally everything to do what they thought was right.
we sing a song with the kids at church that says "you don't need to push a handcart, leave your family dear, or walk a thousand miles or more to be a pioneer. you do have to have great courage, faith to conquer fear, and work with might for a cause that's right to be a pioneer." those words are exactly what we celebrate today-great courage, faith, and hard work for what's right.