Freedom not truly free

Once again we celebrate July 4 with picnics, trips to the beach or lake and fireworks displays.

We will gather friends and family for watermelon, ribs, ice cream and a pickup game of baseball.

I have had the opportunity to celebrate July 4 in Boston, New York and in St. Louis. All of these celebrations have been truly grand, but there is nothing like being at home with family and friends for some good ol’ Southern barbecue and fellowship.

This year July 4 takes on a special meaning.

We have all watched a beautiful young Iranian woman die at the hands of a tyrant government. We have watched as thousands of Iranians risk their lives for the right to vote in a free and fair election.

We also remember the image of that lone peaceful protester in Tiananmen Square in China facing down a column of tanks.

Through the years all over the world, people have willingly risked their most precious treasure, their lives, for another precious but often elusive treasure, the right to have a meaningful voice in their government.

I can think of no higher calling than the privilege of serving my fellow citizens as a public servant.

My office is in the courthouse, a building that is more than 100 years old, and I am well aware that there have been many probate judges before me and there will be many to come after me.

I know that it is up to me and the other public servants to preserve and protect the freedoms that we all often take for granted but that others around the world willingly die for.

This year, as the image of that dying young Iranian woman stays in my thoughts, I thank you for the opportunity to serve you and I pledge that I will continue to do my best to earn your trust as probate judge.

Happy Fourth of July. May freedom continue to ring.