President Bush turned 56 Saturday. He is spending his birthday at his family's home in the northeast state of Maine.
The president's birthday began with an early morning round of golf with his father, the former president.
Mr. Bush is expected to do some fishing at the family's home in the seaside town of Kennebunkport, then spend the rest of the day relaxing with his family.
During the weekend, the president will also work on a speech he will give Tuesday in New York calling for greater corporate responsibility, following a series of American business scandals.
In his weekly radio address, the president said the Fourth of July holiday is a time to be thankful for the freedoms America has defended for the 226 years since its independence from Britain.
"Unlike any other country, America came into the world with a message for mankind, that all are created equal and all are meant to be free. There is no American race, there's only an American creed. We believe in the dignity and rights of every person. We believe in equal justice, limited government and the rule of law, personal responsibility and tolerance toward others," Mr. Bush said.
Mr. Bush said those freedoms have drawn friends toward America, at the same time they have set enemies against it. He said the terrorist attacks of September 11 have left the country more united and he resolved to punish those responsible for the violence.
"More than ever in the lifetimes of most Americans, our flag stands for a truly united country. We've been united in our grief, and we are united in our resolve to protect our people and defeat the enemies of freedom. At this hour, more than 60,000 American troops are deployed around the world in the war against terror," Mr. Bush said.
In the Democratic response, Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Ed Rendell urged Americans celebrating the Fourth of July not to forget about soldiers protecting freedoms overseas.
As Americans enjoy the company of loved ones at home, Mr. Rendell said, they should say a prayer for the servicemen and women "living under constant danger" abroad.