The following is excerpted from the Church Newsroom. To read the full report, CLICK HERE.

Each July 24th, Latter-day Saints in Utah and around the world celebrate Pioneer Day, an official holiday that the U.S. state celebrates to commemorate the first group of the faith’s pioneers that arrived in the Salt Lake Valley nearly 175 years ago.

Church Newsroom and other media outlets recently spent time with several of the faith’s leaders at This Is The Place Heritage Park and on the roof of the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, leading up to the Latter-day Saint-based holiday.

During the interviews, three of the global faith’s leaders — M. Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve ApostlesUlisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; and Joy D. JonesPrimary general president— shared their thoughts on the importance of honoring the Church’s pioneer heritage, recognizing modern-day pioneers regardless of their nationality, and offering guidance on how Saints around the world can create their own legacies.

President Ballard: “We have a great story; we have the great pioneer story”

“Not everybody is a descendant of a pioneer that made their way across the plains in the valley,” said President M. Russell Ballard, senior apostle of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “But all of us have forefathers, and regardless of our nation, culture, and where we come from … we all have pioneer heritage.”

President Ballard, a Salt Lake City native, is also a direct descendant of Hyrum Smith, brother of Joseph Smith, founder and first president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

To read the full report, CLICK HERE.