Church Members Produce an Award-Winning Reenactment

Contributed By By Dennis W. Amaral, Church News contributor

  • 10 January 2014

An image of the Mormon Battalion, which made the longest march in American military history, forging wagon roads that are used to this day. Men, women, and children from a California stake dressed up as Mormon Battalion members for a local parade.

Article Highlights

  • A Church group was recognized for their portrayal of the Mormon Battalion in a local parade.
  • The Wayne Spence Memorial Veterans Day Parade has grown to 3,000 participants.
  • This year 35 Church members dressed as members of the Mormon Battalion and walked the parade route with a two-horse team pulling a wagon and cannon.

“The battalion made the longest march in American military history, forging wagon roads that are used to this day. They deserve to be remembered.” —Parade participant

The Folsom City mayor and city council recognized the Sierra Nevada Mormon Pioneers, a part of the living history reenactors operating under the Sacramento Multistake Public Affairs Council, on December 10.

The group received two awards for their participation and presentation in the 2013 Wayne Spence Memorial Veterans Day Parade in Folsom, California. They received a first-place ribbon and the Community Award of Excellence.

The Mormon Battalion reenactors participate in parades and historical events as part of the statewide Latter-day Saint living history program.

The annual parade was started 13 years ago by a Church member, veteran Wayne Spence of Folsom. He felt that the veterans of all wars should be remembered, so he marched in Folsom’s first Veterans Day parade—as the only participant. From that humble beginning the annual event has grown to 294 entrants and 3,000 participants in 2013. Brother Spence passed away several years ago. One participant said, “It’s a shame that Wayne is no longer with us to see how much it’s grown.”

For 10 of the 13 years, the Sacramento, California, living history group has marched to honor the veterans of the 1846 Mexican-American War. This year 35 Latter-day Saint men, women, and children, with a two-horse team pulling a wagon and cannon, followed the parade route in period-appropriate attire. The women and children represented their counterparts as they marched along with the battalion as laundresses, cooks, and family members.

When asked why the group participates in this parade, one veteran said, “The battalion made the longest march in American military history, forging wagon roads that are used to this day. They deserve to be remembered.”