(KUTV) -- Something old, something new for the Days of ’47.
Over the weekend, thousands took part in the final pioneer youth parade to be held in downtown Salt Lake City. The parade may return in a simpler form, but perhaps not on the scale that has been a tradition for decades.
At the same time, the Days of ’47 organization told 2News it’s working on a new “world class monument” to pioneer children who lost their lives on the Mormon Trail from 1847-1869.
The ‘Days’ executive vice president, Greg James, said the monument will focus on “remembering those 853 children and their sacrifices.” It will be a series of larger than life bronze statues at This is the Place Heritage Park.
“One of our goals is to make sure the principles of pioneering are remembered and practiced in the future,” James said. “Our vision and our mission is better served by a park that you can come to every day, than a parade once a year.”
Lane Summerhays, Days of ’47 president, said children of his ancestors died while crossing the plains.
“There is no memorial for those children, and there should be,” he said. “For us to forget the heritage that brought us here would be an enormous mistake.”
Summerhays and James showed us models of the bronze statues, with images of kids at play, families and the handcart trek. Money is being raised now, and the hope is the monument will be dedicated early next year.
They said the display is not something just to be viewed, but experienced.
“Children can climb on the wagon, get on the oxen, they can get in the water,” said Summerhays. “It’s more than a piece of bronze. It tells a story.”