June 1, 1942

Bill Stacey had known Velma Dickson as long as he could remember. The Dicksons lived five miles from town, but Velma and Bill’s sister Ruth became close friends, and Bill also became friends. When he was nineteen he began dating Velma, and the relationship was cemented. On June 1, 1942, a few months after Bill had returned from his mission, they left Woodruff in a borrowed car to be married in the Salt Lake Temple.


It was a trip to remember, but not only because it was the most important day in their lives. It was memorable not just because it was the first time they would stay in a motel in Salt Lake City (a building still standing in 2006 on the east side of State Street between Third and Fourth South, just north of the City and County Building.) It was unforgettable for many reasons, one of which was the fact that Velma had a lovely new dress, one of the only articles of clothing in her life which had been purchased, which her mother had literally saved pennies several months to buy.

They were all good reasons to remember the day. But as they emerged from the temple that beautiful day in June, Bill heard a plane. As he looked up to identify the C-47 in the sky, his mind involuntarily switched to what he knew was going on at that very moment on the island of Midway in the Pacific Ocean. Secrecy was tight about that event. Two American Intelligence Officers had cracked the Japanese Code and knew Japan was planning an attack that day. Since they had warned the Navy something would be happening at Pearl Harbor six months earlier and no one had listened, this time every ear with any interest in the war was tuned to the faraway island of Midway on June 1, 1942. And Bill Stacey was no different.

Wedding days pass all too quickly. Few people even heard about the events at Midway. Bill Stacey had enlisted immediately after returning from his mission, and would be in the Air Force before their first child was born. Not until the end of the war did Americans find out about the miracles which saved Midway from the Japanese. While Bill and Velma Stacey were taking vows to seal their marriage for eternity, a lone Japanese scout plane developed engine trouble and turned back before sighting the American aircraft carriers. A second plane sent to scout the waters discovered the carriers, but developed voice transmission difficulties, and lost contact with his commander. The Japanese were not warned that American planes would soon intercept their plans and take over the mid-Atlantic air base.

But another miracle took place that day in Salt Lake City, Utah. Those who watch events with lasting significance recognize God’s hand in all things. Eternal plans were being carried out June 1, 1942, not the least of which was the beginning of a family whose members would change a small part of the world for the better. Such quiet events are the beginning of generations of good people. The miracle of a couple who chose to stay with God’s plan and with each other is not to be discounted. Vows for anything less than so great a goal would be unworthy on such a day.