July 4th and My Papa

If I could do anything this 4th of July, it would be the same thing I would choose any other year: spend one more day with my Papa. He has been gone since 2005, and I always think of him on July 4th because his birthday was the following day. 

Papa was a man who served in World War II, worked his entire life in his father-in-law’s pharmacy, and was an avid baseball fan. More importantly, he was married for 61 years to my grandmother and an amazing father and grandfather. 

These characteristics are worth celebrating on July 4th:  


Our veterans demonstrate the American value of service at the highest level. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). 


Working the same job for decade after decade takes grit. Both of my grandfathers exhibited this kind of grit and along with millions of others, built the fabric of a country worth celebrating on July 4th.  


People will come Ray. They’ll come to Iowa for reasons they can’t even fathom….The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good and it could be again.” 

Although the above is fiction from the movie “Field of Dreams,” I often look at baseball and am reminded of the progress of America. Perfect? Of course, not. But a work in progress just like our national pastime. 


The most important of human relationships we have! America is best when we are best for those we most cherish. Building the family, keeping it secure, and making it a place of safety, frees people up to thrive. And this is worth celebrating on the 4th of July! 

While July 4th may have been a week ago, I still wish all the readers of this blog a Happy Fourth of July. Treasure your family, and make some memories over the summer. I will do the same as I remember Papa and dream of watching one more baseball game with him.