When the dust settled after a wake, a funeral and a powerful memorial service, Joe Paterno has been laid to rest and can finally rest in peace. The week that past was full of ups and downs, laughs and tears, but it always had us coming back to the reason we were all in attendance. Joe Paterno was more than a football coach to the Pennsylvania State University and if you don’t live in the State College area these last few days have been a window into our world. Many of us didn’t say goodbye to a football coach, we said goodbye to a father figure, a teacher and a man who is indirectly responsible for a lot of us being here. There is not enough time to explain the gratitude we all owe Joe Paterno for his dedication to this university and setting the standard for success with honor.
Just by the memorial the casual bystander could see the effect he had on people’s lives. Whether it was Joe’s wife Sue Paterno hugging all of her 17 grand children before the start of the ceremony or Phil Knights incredible speech that warranted his standing ovation you had a feel that something special was occurring in Happy Valley. Words can’t describe Joe Paterno’s influence on Penn State on and off the field, but I know I will always live the Joe Paterno way and for that Joe I thank you.