Dear Kate and Kelly,
The past six years have brought so many new experiences and changes to our family since the extraordinary circumstances over the Hudson River placed me in the national spotlight. But this Father’s Day, I want to tell you (and the world) that you and your mother mean more to me than anything else in life, and you always will.
Before you were born, I never could have imagined how much fun it would be rediscovering the world through your eyes. All the things that we adults take for granted were new and exciting to you—and I loved experiencing those discoveries with you.
I know I missed many special moments during all the years I was flying. I was often away when you were in a school play, or were just having a bad day and needed a shoulder to cry on. It is one of my deep regrets that I missed so much.
But I know we did our best and we adjusted; when you were very young, we celebrated Christmas on the day when I could be home from work, regardless of the number on the calendar. It also didn’t take too many lost teeth for you to figure out that the Tooth Fairy seemed to come only when I was there.
And I know that you always remembered fondly the family vacation we took to Disney World because later whenever I had a layover in Orlando you would say, “Dad, you’re so lucky!”
Every man wonders what kind of dad he will be, and I’ve always tried to be the kind my father was to me: an honorable man, a true gentleman, kind, understanding, and supportive. I hope I’ve been the dad you deserve because you have been the best daughters a father could ever hope for.
I have learned so much from each of you and received even more in return than I can say. It’s been a privilege to share with you the good times and the hard times, the serious moments and the silly ones.
Over the years, I wondered what you would be like when you grew up. Now, as you finish college and prepare to enter the next phase of life, I am so proud to see what fine young women you have become. You have begun to make your own mark in this world, and I deeply admire your compassion, generosity, and civic-mindedness. I also have no doubt that you will continue to grow and create lasting legacies of your own.
I look forward to continuing to celebrate life with you. Being your Dad has shaped me more than any other event in my life and made me a better man. Thank you for bringing so much joy, meaning, and love to my life—just by being you.