1 of 10
Debbie Stapley
Captain Jerry Gardner, from Sacramento, marches with his troops during the parade.
I want my children to learn the values and appreciate the sacrifices made by their great-great-great-great grandmother. —Justin Storm, Swallows Parade participant

San Juan Capistrano, Calif. — Walking in the March 23 Swallows' Day Parade was more than just a fun way for Justin and Jannah Storm of Foothill Ranch, Calif., to spend an afternoon. It was a golden opportunity to teach their four children about their pioneer ancestors' sacrifices.

“They crossed the plains and a bunch of other stuff, “ said Callie Storm, 9.

Callie marched with her siblings Mariah, 6; Nora, 4; and Emerson, 2, all dressed as their pioneer forebears.

"I’m a pioneer girl," Nora said. "Pioneer children sing as they walked and walked and walked.”

The Storm family walked the mile-long route with other members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to honor their pioneer ancestors, including members of the Mormon Battalion, who marched through and camped near San Juan Capistrano in early 1847.

Justin Storm said he told his daughters about their Mormon ancestor, Jane Singleton, who trekked 1,300 miles across the Great Plains from Iowa to the Salt Lake Valley in 1853.

“I want my children to learn the values and appreciate the sacrifices made by their great-great-great-great grandmother,” he said.

When the Storm children tired of walking, they were pulled by horses in an authentic pioneer wagon from Sacramento, Calif.

Comment on this story

Jannah Storm, who did not grow up in the LDS faith, said she has adopted her husband’s pioneer heritage as “peacemakers and roadbuilders.” She said her children were “proud and excited to represent the pioneer children who walked day after day to get to beautiful California.”

“I get to dress up and go in the streets," Mariah said.

Other nearby marchers included a group of "Star Wars" aficionados bearing light sabers and clad in costumes resembling Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker and other characters from the popular movie series. Marching behind the Storms was a contingent of people dressed as pirates who looked fresh off the set of "Pirates of the Caribbean."

Paul Hoffman is from Lake Forest and serves as the Santa Margarita Stake Historical Affairs Director for the LDS Church. Hoffman has been participating in the parade as a Major for about eight years.