Last year at this same time I happened to be in Nauvoo, Illinois. My husband and I had traveled there with his mother and stepfather. According to the journal entry I made on July 4, 2007, we began the day by going for a wagon ride around Nauvoo Old Town. Naturally I took lots of pictures which I will share throughout this blog.
The shot above is a picture of the Nauvoo Temple that I took while sitting on a wooden seat in the wagon. This is a great way to see the restored buildings and homes that make up the heart of Nauvoo. The grove of trees you can see below is gorgeous. Our tour guide told us that this is where the Prophet Joseph Smith would often preach to the gathered Saints.
After the wagon ride, we drove back to the "new" section of Nauvoo for the much anticipated 4th of July parade. Before it started, we slipped into a nearby candy shop and bought luscious homemade fudge to nibble on. The parade started at 11:00 a.m. and took place down a street called Mulhalland. It was over about ten minutes later. Though the parade was small (3 of the 4 entries were compliments of the LDS missionaries serving in the area) it was still festive and we enjoyed it.
When the parade was over, we wandered through several of the arts and craft booths that were set up along the way. I found a large crystal lined geode that was on sale for $2.00. My father-in-law tried to find one similar and failed. We agreed I was the bargain queen that afternoon. =)
We ate a quick bite of lunch, then drove to nearby Carthage for a tour of Carthage Jail. I had been in this location once before a few years earlier and during that first visit, had felt a trifle sad after seeing for myself where our beloved prophet had spent his final moments. This time, the sadness was replaced by peace. A cousin of mine mentioned that she experienced the same thing and she attributes the change to the peaceful feeling that now exists in Nauvoo with the restoration of the Nauvoo Temple.
From Carthage, we traveled over the Mississippi River to a small town called Keokuk. We had been told that in years past, geodes could be found on the banks of the Mississippi River in this location. We didn't find any that day, but we did get to see a barge pass through a dam lock on its way up the Mississippi River.
Dinner that night took place at Hotel Nauvoo. This restaurant features a wonderful buffet with a variety of tasty food. After we had enjoyed far more food than we should have, we left the Hotel and drove into Old Town Nauvoo to watch a rehearsal of the Nauvoo Pageant. I highly recommend this historic drama to anyone who has a chance to visit Nauvoo. This pageant truly captures the Spirit of Nauvoo, and it reminds us of the sacrifices endured by those who bravely stood for righteousness and truth.
Following the rehearsal, we journeyed up to the temple grounds where we had a spectacular view of the fireworks display that was launched over the Mississippi River.
The 4th of July has always been one of my favorite holidays. My maternal grandfather was born on July 4th, and at an early age, I remember this day was a significant one in our family. Memories of family gatherings, picnics, parades, and beautiful fireworks hold a special place in my heart. I would have to say that the celebration we enjoyed last year was just as marvelous, filled with a tender poignancy as we sat in front of a sacred temple, watching a tribute of fireworks that signified the birth of this nation.
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