It's Pioneer Day in Utah. I can't help but think about my amazing ancestry and the sacrifices they made for me to be who I am and where I am. I am thankful for my ancestors who fought for freedom in the Revolutionary & Civil War. I am thankful for strong women who came to this country, with children in tow, to start over. I am thankful to my pioneer ancestors who left the comforts of back east and other countries, to come out to Utah, California and Washington. I have an amazing heritage of strong, hard working, honest, people who have shaped my life. I am who I am because of them. I love reading their stories and learning about the life's they led. I find myself very blessed to be a part of my heritage.
So what can I do with this heritage now? How can I make a difference in the world because of who I am and who they where?
I guess the best start is to learn more about them. Go visit the places they passed through. I had the opportunity to go to Danmark this year where my Christophersen heritage is from. On the dock in Kopenhagen, there is a statue of a young girl who was leaving her homeland to head to America for religious purposes. The cobble stone along the dock has the names of other countrymen who left for the same reason. The name of my great great grandmother is there somewhere. I even have a history of their voyage and her strength. She moved with 4 small children and against all odds.
There is also my Willis line that moved west in the great migration because they were driven from their homes in the dead of winter by people who just didn't understand them. The stories of what they went through and the opposition they faced is moving. They had to farm land that wasn't irrigated, bury family members in shallow graves alone the trail, and endure invasions from Indians and Mexico. In some ways, our lives are very easy.
I can't even imagine packing up 9 kids and all your belongings into a car and moving from New Hampshire to Washington State like my great grandparents did in 1905. Leaving a married daughter behind knowing that changes were they would never see her again. There is also the Firebaugh side of the family that left the Shenandoah Valley to move to California and start the first ferry across the San Joaquin River. And also the confusing and murderous controversy of the San Francisco Embarcadero that my family has claimed to have once owned.
To learn about my ancestry is exciting and intriguing. They have shaped who I am. Now it is my turn to make a mark in the world. What will I be remembered for? What stories will I write and leave behind? Or will I be forgotten in time? I love watch "Who Do You Think You Are?" and "The Story Trek." Both shows tell what impacts people can have on us and that we all have a story.
I hope I will be remembered for my smile, my integrity and my honesty. My ability to move forward as they did when all looked dark and lost. I hope I am being generous and kind to those I deal with and that I am seeing them as the wonderful people they are. When we look at people or other countries we tend to look for what is wrong. I hope I can be remembered for looking at what is right.