SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Gary Herbert praised the resilience of Utahns, from the pioneers who settled the state to a couple who lost their home in last summer's wildfires, after he was sworn in for his first full term as governor Monday.
The governor encouraged optimism, courage and faith in his inaugural address in the Capitol rotunda, delivered to an audience that included political, community and business leaders.
The hourlong inauguration ceremony included performances by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the One Voice Utah Children's Choir, and Herbert's sons, Nathan, Bradley and Daniel, who sang "The Star-Spangled Banner."
There was also a 19-gun salute and a flyover by three Blackhawk helicopters. Prayers were given by Indra Neelameggham of the Hindu Temple of Sri Ganesha and Elder L. Tom Perry of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Quorum of the Twelve.
“Utah's economy is recovering — and it is growing once again. We are making progress and we will reach our destination,” Herbert said. "We are stronger because of our difficult climb, because from adversity comes strength, and from strength comes success.”
He cited Dave and Janice Taylor, who were going door-to-door, warning their neighbors of a wildfire near Indianola when their own home went up in flames. Despite losing everything, the couple continued to volunteer in evacuation efforts.
"Their courage inspired me," the governor said, calling the Taylors heroes, "people who care more about others than they do about themselves. They make this state great."
Herbert also told the story of the "Hole in the Rock" pioneers, who in November 1879 stood on the rim of Glen Canyon, a seemingly impossible obstacle, on their way to colonize the San Juan area of southeastern Utah.
The pioneers persevered, Herbert said, building a trail that allowed them to continue toward their goal. He said many Utahns felt the same concerns today for their families as the pioneers did then, "as we watched our nation's economy careen our of control and perch precariously on the edge of collapse."
But Utahns can take comfort in sharing the principles "of individual liberty coupled with individual responsibility" as the state recovers from the nation's economic downturn, he said.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said he appreciated Herbert's message.
"It was basically a pioneer message that said, 'We can do it. We know we're going through some tough times, but we can do it.' We can. We've got to set an example for a lot of people who aren't doing what's right for our country."
Also taking the oath of office were Lt. Gov. Greg Bell, Attorney General John Swallow and Treasurer Richard Ellis. The other state executive officeholder elected in November, Auditor John Dougall, chose to be sworn in earlier Monday at his office.
Herbert assumed the office in 2009, when then-Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. stepped down to become U.S. ambassador to China, and was elected to the remainder of Huntsman's term a year later. He won his first full, four-year term in November.5 comments on this story
Former Lt. Gov. Gayle McKeachnie, who served under former Gov. Olene Walker and later in Huntsman's administration, said he didn't miss being a part of such ceremonies.
The Vernal lawyer said he watched the ceremony from the back of the rotunda with friends rather than accept a last-minute invitation to join the dignataries up front.
"They forget all about you, and if that bothers you, then you shouldn't be here," McKeachnie said with a smile. "I don't have any regrets about having been here and no regrets about having left. It was a wonderful opportunity."