It's Pioneer Day! July 24th. I grew up in Utah where the 24th of July is a state holiday. Throughout the state, the holiday is celebrated in ways very similar to that of Independence Day, with fireworks, parades, and barbecues. It always seemed to me like "The 4th of July, Part 2". It was great!
Now, however, I live in southern California. While there is a 24th of July (get it?), it isn't Pioneer Day around here. When we first moved here, we were pleased that the church would still have activities to celebrate the occasion. Where we live now, our stake used to put on a big affair, with a 5k run (which I participated in once -- taking 3rd!), an old-time country band, and a fine breakfast. In the past several years, we've noticed that the attendance kept shrinking, and this year, they decided not to do anything. It makes me sad, as it's something special and unique that I will miss; it is like a part of my youth is now gone that can't be relived anymore.
Ironically, now that I'm a little older, I'm learning much more about my own pioneer ancestors, and am gaining an appreciation for the tremendously difficult task that it was for them to make a living where none had settled before. These ancestors of mine left behind a tremendous legacy of hard work, religious dedication, and family values that I hope to instill within my own children. I just wish I could do so while attending parades and watching fireworks on the 24th of July, which to me will always be Pioneer Day (oh, and my brother's birthday ... ;) ).