Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
It's been 167 years since the first of the Latter-day Saints entered the Salt Lake valley behind the leadership of President Brigham Young. Every year, in commemoration of that event, people from all over the valley participate in a parade — and many more line the streets — to honor and recognize the efforts of the early Mormon pioneers.
President Thomas S. Monson was this year's parade dignitary. He was accompanied by his daughter, Sister Ann M. Dibb, former second counselor in the Young Women general presidency.
The floats that made an appearance in the parade were designed to represent an interpretation of the theme, “Pioneers — Pushing Toward Our Future." Many stakes submitted floats that were missionary themed, family history themed, and some of the floats had elaborate replicas of the temple.
The pioneers' exodus from persecution helped pave the way for Latter-day Saint's now full-fledged efforts as a Church body in missionary, family history and temple work.
Although the parade is in commemoration of the Mormon pioneers coming to Utah, the parade also drew many members of other faiths to the celebration.
Jim Williams, co-chair of the Days of '47 Parade, said that the parade is not only a celebration of the pioneers advent, but also a celebration of the state of Utah as a whole.
Andrew Caprio from the Dry Creek Ward, Lehi Utah South Stake, makes an effort to attend the parade every year, his family saying that it's one of his favorite things do to. "It helps us celebrate the pioneers' entry into Utah," he said. He and his family turn off all cell phones so they are not distracted from their focus on what the pioneers did for the Church and their posterity.
Brother Caprio also talked of the immense sacrifice that the pioneers made in leaving their homes in the Midwest and coming out to such untamed lands.