OREM — After 66 years of marriage, James Pinegar, 86, and his wife Colleen, 86, are still very much in love. And now not only does their family know it, but so do thousands of YouTube viewers.
"It's our love for each other that sustains us," James said in an interview with the Deseret News. "It's our love for each other that comforts us."
The Pinegars' daughter, Linda Whitaker, posted a YouTube video this past February showing her parents performing one of their favorite songs, "You are my Sunshine."
The song was more meaningful than usual, as James was being treated in the hospital, suffering from a blood infection after having hip replacement surgery. As time appeared to be dwindling away, the family was unaware of what the outcome would be. It was Whitaker's son Daniel, a filmmaker, who wanted to capture his grandpa while he was in the hospital.
In the video, James asks for his wife Colleen to "come close" because he wanted to perform the special song with her.
"They have a great love. They've always been crazy about each other," Linda Whitaker said. "They are a great example of commitment."
When Whitaker decided to place the video on YouTube to share the tender moment with other family members, she was not expecting to have any other viewers. The video soon became viral, however, and has more than 500,000 views and more than 1,000 comments.
"We didn't realize the effect it would have on people," Whitaker said. "I think it lets people know, 'Yeah, you can stay together for 66 years and work through stuff.' There's always stuff to work through, but if you're always thinking of the other person first, it makes life a lot easier."
James has since recovered enough to return home. He's still healing from his surgery but is doing well.
According to him, serving his spouse has been one of the biggest blessings of his marriage.
"We care about each other, and we do things for each other," James said. "It's all about caring, loving, giving, forgiving, sharing, helping. That's how our marriage is, and that's how we got to where we're at, I guess."
And for James, no one is a better example for him than his wife, especially during his time in the hospital.
"She loves everyone and helps everyone. Her whole life is service," James said. "She'd come down every morning and leave at night. But even in the day, with all the nurses and the aids, my recovery was enhanced with her love and her caring."
Their message of love and compassion continues to grow, as new comments are posted to their YouTube video every day. Viewers have expressed appreciation for their example in making it work.
"I'm glad there is still love like this in the world, and it gives me hope to find love like this. God bless you both," Tatiana Castillo posted.
Another commenter said: "Thank you for sharing this. What a wonderful example of true love for our generation to see. This has truly blessed me."