July 24 – reflecting on a day of arrivals

July 24 – almost the end of the month, but not quite.  In Utah, July 24 is usually a state holiday, to celebrate the date in 1847 that the Mormon refugees arrived in Salt Lake Valley and began to set up their agriculture and schools.  In Salt Lake City, bands from across the state and floats from many entities form the “Days of ’47” Parade.  When I marched with the Pleasant Grove High School Viking Band, the route was  5 miles.  We had only one band uniform, for winter — I lost nearly 10 pounds carrying a Sousaphone.

Ah, the good old days!

From various “Today in History” features, AP, New York Times, and others:

Buzz Aldrin walks on the moon, July 20, 1969

Buzz Aldrin walks on the moon, July 20, 1969 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

July 24, 1969: Apollo 11 returned to the Earth, and splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong — Aldrin and Armstrong having landed on the Moon.

July 24, 1847: A larger contingent of Mormons, refugees from a literal religious war in Illinois and Missouri, entered into the Salt Lake Valley under the leadership of Brigham Young, who famously said from his wagon sick-bed, “This is the place; drive on!”

Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and organ

Would there be a Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and organ, had the Mormons settled somewhere other than Utah? Wikipedia photo

July 24, 1866: Tennessee became the first of the Confederate States, the former “state in rebellion,” to be readmitted fully to the Union, following the end of the American Civil War.

July 24, 2005: Lance Armstrong won his seventh consecutive Tour de France bicycle race.

English: Cropped image of Richard Nixon and Ni...

Nixon advance man William Safire claimed later than he’d set up the famous “debate” between Eisenhower’s Vice President Richard Nixon and Soviet Communist Party Premier Nikita Khrushchev, at the American National Exhibition in Moscow, 1959. Nixon argued that the technology on display made better the lives of average Americans, not just the wealthiest. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

July 24, 1959: Visiting Moscow, USSR, to support an exhibit of U.S. technology and know-how, Vice President Richard Nixon engaged Soviet Communist Party Secretary and Premier Nikita Khruschev in a volley of points about which nation was doing better, at a display of the “typical” American kitchen, featuring an electric stove, a refrigerator, and a dishwasher.  Khruschev said the Soviet Union produced similar products; Nixon barbed  back that even Communist Party leaders didn’t have such things in their homes, typically, but such appliances were within the reach of every American family.  It was the “Kitchen Debate.”

Cover of Time Magazine, July 22, 1974, explaining the showdown between President Richard Nixon and the Special Prosecutor, playing out in the U.S. Supreme Court. Image copyright by Time Magazine.

July 24, 1974: In U.S. vs. Nixon, The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that President Richard Nixon had to turn over previously-secret recordings made of conversations in the White House between Nixon and his aides, to the special prosecutor appointed to investigate the Watergate affair and cover-up.  Nixon would resign the presidency within two weeks, the only president to leave office by resignation.

July 24, 1975: An Apollo spacecraft splashed down after a mission that included the first link-up of American and Soviet spacecraft.  (The Apollo mission was not officially numbered, but is sometimes called “Apollo 18″ — after Apollo 17, the last trip to the Moon.)

More information:

5 Responses to July 24 – reflecting on a day of arrivals

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    I don’t miss the Days of ’47 Parade at all, I must admit. I miss playing in a band. Our sons both marched with the championship Duncanville High School Marching Band and played in the exquisite Duncanville Wind Ensemble — and I did not sit through any performance that I did not wish to be playing along (they are much better musicians than I ever was).

    Fortunately, it was a fiberglass horn I carried after the first year. I was first trombone, so playing the bass line in marching was just fun.

    It also led to a great adventure with a cabbie who gave me a lot of advice on how to avoid the draft. But that’s a story for another time.

    Growing up in Utah was a great adventure, really — especially as a non-Mormon (one of two in my graduating class). I thought then, and in many ways still do, that it was a great place to live, but a terrible place to visit. It’s a better place to visit, now.

    It was fun to have a second day of fireworks in July; but other cities find other reasons for fireworks, and I got over it.


  2. alwaysjan says:

    I had to laugh at the vision of you walking 5 miles carrying a sousaphone. I haven’t even heard of this instrument since..??? We just drove through Utah en route to Idaho and everyone was getting the floats ready and the pressing the pioneer garb to push those pushcarts. I didn’t realize you spent your formative years in The Beehive State. So I guess today is sort of a blah July 24th in the scheme of things.


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