President’s Message: “We Made It”

President’s Message: “We Made It”
Larry Gibson
2021-22 National President

2021 has been a most interesting year as we have worked our way through some difficult challenges but also many wonderful experiences. As we conclude 2021, we hope you all take some time to reflect on all that you have done and been through and with confidence say “We made it!” As we move into the new year of 2022, we also hope each of you individually, as families, and as a part of our wonderful chapters and national organization are looking forward with anticipation. It will be a wonderful year and journey!

We have made progress in working our way through the various strains of COVID. We are starting to realize that there can and will be a new normal in which we will learn to love with optimism and joy. There is a very special future ahead of us. Let me reiterate our appreciation for each of the Chapters staying close to and regularly reaching out to all of our members providing the social experiences they need with formal meetings, treks, home visits, and phone calls, etc. What a blessing you are and have been in supporting and being the sustaining scaffolding around them. Thank you for your many efforts. We express on behalf of the National leadership team, our gratitude for all that each of you is doing to keep our chapters closely knit together and moving forward. We are confident that 2022 will be an even better year for our National Society of . We are excited!

As we begin this new year, please know that the National Organization is on a firm foundation and will continue to be. We recently held our National Board Meeting and Christmas Dinner on December 8, 2021. You were all invited and those who attended had a very choice opportunity to mingle with old friends, partake of a wonderful dinner, and be entertained in a way that brought joy, laughter, and togetherness. Please put on your calendar right now, April 23, 2022, the date for the 2022 National Symposium. This is an event that you will not want to miss! Remember, 2022 is the 175th Anniversary of the Vanguard Pioneer Company entering the Salt Lake Valley for the first time and the entering California following their major journey. It will be an enjoyable year of celebration and the theme for the Symposium.

The Vanguard Pioneer Company left Winter Quarters and gathered at a place about 20 miles from Winter Quarters on the banks of the Platte River. There they worked repairing wagons, organizing supplies, and chopping firewood. It was not until the 16th of April that the company was officially organized into the hundreds, fifties, and tens, with captains appointed and they started their journey. The organized company consisted of 142 men, 3 women, 2 children, and 72 wagons. They traveled 1,031 miles before reaching their destination. Some members of the company traveled ahead and arrived in the Salt Lake Valley as early as July 21, 1847, with the entire company arriving by the 24th of July.

During this same time the Mormon Battalion, the only religious unit in United States military history, was recruited solely from one religious body and given a religious title, “Mormon Battalion” as the unit designation. These volunteers served from July 1846 to July 1847 during the Mexican-American War of 1846-1848. The battalion was a volunteer unit of between 534-559 Latter-day Saint men, led by Mormon company officers but commanded by regular U.S. Army officers. During their service, the battalion made a grueling march of nearly 2,100 miles from Council Bluffs, Iowa, to San Diego, California.

The Battalion’s march and service supported the eventual cession of much of the American Southwest from Mexico to the United States, especially the Gadsden Purchase of 1853 of southern Arizona and New Mexico. The march also opened a southern wagon route to California. Veterans of the Battahon played significant roles in America’s westward expansion in California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, and other parts of the West.

Both the Vanguard Pioneer Company and the Mormon Battalion have amazing histories. We will be focusing on these histories in 2022 and celebrating their great accomplishments 175 years ago. You will not want to miss any of the planned events.

From all of us here at the National Headquarters, we wish you the very best and happiest New Year ever. Please know that we are constantly thinking about you and appreciate the privilege to serve you. May the Lord’s blessings ever attend you and all those you love.

CHALLENGE: I hope you took last month’s challenge and found 2-3 stories regarding your mother’s father to share with your family. I found several stories about Austin Clinton Miner which I will share with my children. This month find 2-3 stories about your mother’s mother that you want to share with your children. Write them and share them.

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