My thoughts running through my mind on this Father's Day morning are concerned with the blessings of fatherhood. I was given the gift of a wonderful wife who endured my faults and remained loyal and loving and supporting all through our nearly 63 years of marriage. Many of the blessings of fatherhood I have received are due not to me, but to the patient and incredible ability my wife had of raising our children. As my thoughts turn to my children today, I am grateful beyond measure for the kind of lives you have led. You have all devoted much of your lives to occupations and voluntary efforts that have given gifts of tremendous help and service to others. As I remain alone as the head of our extended family, I look down the line at the children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren that somehow have branched out from that moment in the Salt Lake Temple 63 years ago when Velna and I held hands across the altar and pledged ourselves to eternal marriage, just as I witnessed yesterday in the beautiful ceremony for Kate and Brian that replicated exactly what we did all of those years ago.
Yes, there have been a few bumps in the road here and there and some unexpected problems here and there. But everyone has done the best they can do to overcome these difficulties. Mentally, I have gone down our family line today and have thought for a bit about each child, each grandchild, and each grandchild. I can tell you that I love each and every one of you with all my heart. There is nothing more than I can hope and wish for all of you than that you follow and emulate the lives of grace, honesty, hard work, and service to others that your parents have all demonstrated. Most of the sermons that stick with us are not sermons of words, but sermons of example, of patience, of long-suffering, of courage when hopes seem to have vanished for a bit, of demonstrations of love and support for each of our family and for the strangers we meet each day, of smiles, of forgiveness, of perseverance, of striving to learn and grow and shine. You are all my eternal gifts on this Father's Day. The memories I hold dear for each one of you are the most priceless memories and possessions I have. Yes, I miss Velna more than I can tell you on this Father's Day and I have re-read some of her Father's Day cards from the past with tears streaming down my cheeks but I can tell you that the gifts that matter most to us are the lasting gifts of the love we have and demonstrate for each other. I miss my Dad and my Grandpa Wasden every day of my life. But with my years my understanding and appreciation of family and the primary importance of our families in our lives have become more precious, more clear, and more significant to me. One word says it all: Family. And the second word says even more: Love. I hope you all have a Happy Father's Day. From your Dad, your grandpa, and your great grandpa.