News / USA

Obama Honors Troops on Independence Day

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama applaud during a Fourth of July celebration on the South Lawn of the White House, July 4, 2013.
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama applaud during a Fourth of July celebration on the South Lawn of the White House, July 4, 2013.
Kent Klein
Americans celebrated their nation's 237th anniversary Thursday with parades, picnics, concerts and baseball games. President Barack Obama observed the holiday by honoring members of the U.S. military at the White House.

The president and first lady Michelle Obama hosted a barbecue and concert for more than 1,200 service members and their families. Afterward, they were treated to a concert by a Marine Band and the Grammy award-winning band FUN.
 

Obama thanked those he called "military heroes" for upholding American values around the world.

"People in scattered corners of the world are living in peace today, free to write their own futures, because of you," said President Obama.

The president recalled the bravery of what he termed "a small band of patriots" who declared America's independence in 1776, pledging their "lives...fortunes and...sacred honor." He paid tribute to "this improbable experiment in democracy" and its commitment to peace and freedom.

"And what makes us great is not our size or our wealth but our values and our ideals and the fact that we are willing to fight for them," said Obama.
 

A short distance away, tens of thousands gathered on Washington's National Mall for a concert and a huge fireworks display visible over much of the city.
 

A similar crowd gathered in Boston, Massachusetts for the traditional concert by the Boston Pops. Security was tight for the city's first major public event since the Boston Marathon bombings in April, in which three people were killed and hundreds wounded.
 


 


One of the nation's most prominent celebrations was in New York City, where the Statue of Liberty reopened, eight months after being damaged in a hurricane.

At the ceremony, the city's mayor, Michael Bloomberg, reflected on the statue's significance to generations of immigrants arriving in New York.

"Lady Liberty, whose welcome to all is "to all who yearn to breathe free" is just, I think, like the Fourth of July. It's at the heart of what America really is all about," he said.

Protests against government surveillance were held in a number of U.S. cities.  Activists spoke against recent disclosures that the National Security Agency has been secretly tracking phone calls and Internet activity.

Thursday also marked the first day of a weeklong series of naturalization ceremonies, in which almost 8,000 immigrants became U.S. citizens.

  • Audience members join arms as the Boston Pops play "God Bless America" during their Fourth of July Concert at the Hatch Shell in Boston, July 4, 2013
  • Independence Day fireworks light the sky over Washington, July 4, 2013.
  • Fireworks light up the Empire State Building along the Manhattan skyline during Macy's 37th Annual Fourth of July fireworks show, July 4, 2013, in New York.
  • Matthew Usher looks up at the clouds to check for rain as he waits for a concert to start as part of the Independence Day activities, July 4, 2013, in Nashville, Tennessee.
  • Fireworks explode over the Philadelphia Museum of Art during an Independence Day celebration, July 4, 2013, in Philadelphia.
  • Residents and visitors of Alexander's Lake sit out on their docks and in small boats as they watch neighborhood fireworks as they celebrate Independence Day, July 4, 2013, in Dayville, Connecticut.
  • Fireworks for Independence Day are seen on the New Jersey shore, July 3, 2013.
  • Fireworks light the sky over the U.S. Capitol, left, the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial during Fourth of July celebrations in Washington, July 4, 2013.
  • Visitors to the Statue of Liberty disembark onto Liberty Island from the first ferry to leave Manhattan, July 4, 2013.
  • A girl poses as they visit the Statue of Liberty and Liberty Island during its reopening to the public in New York, July 4, 2013. The Statue of Liberty closed in October during Superstorm Sandy.
  • President Barack Obama holds a baby as he greets members of the military and their families during a Fourth of July celebration on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, July 4, 2013.
  • A U.S. soldier cuts into a cake during Fourth of July celebrations at the Bagram airbase, north of Kabul, Afghanistan, July 4, 2013.
  • A family buys fireworks at a TNT Fireworks stand in Monterey Park, California, July 2, 2013.
  • Heavy traffic during the Fourth of July weekend backs up the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Maryland, the main route from Washington, DC to beaches along the Delmarva Peninsula.
  • A U.S. flag, in the shape of the country, is unfurled in the outfield before a baseball game between the Washington Nationals and the Milwaukee Brewers at Nationals Park in Washington, July 4, 2013.

You May Like

Somalia: No Popular Elections in 2016

In interview Wednesday with VOA, President Mohamud says 'one person, one vote' elections will not be possible due to continuing insecurity More

Scientists Predict Climate Change Will Increase Child Malnutrition

Public health expert in Germany says that by 2050, 25 million more children's lives will be put at risk because of lack of nutrients tied to climate change More

Erdogan in China Amid Tensions on Uighurs, Missile System

Turkey's president has criticized China's heavy-handed policies toward Uighurs in violence-plagued Xinjiang region, where China says it is fighting foreign-backed separatists More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
July 07, 2013 11:09 PM
I realized again after listenning to this Obama's adress that US is a country of freedom and actualization of dream. What I admire for US is that it has been accepted those ambitious people from around the world acknowledging something troublesome consequences may happen. And US people know freedom and prosperity could not be won without some sacrifices including losing lives in battle fields. I wonder if there emerges no country forever where liberty, equality, peace and prosperity are given with no such sacrifices. Thank you.

by: ed from: brick nj
July 04, 2013 10:51 PM
There has never been as great and free nation in the history of the world than the awesome United States Of America. And if we keep our senses about us there never will be.

by: Bernard O'Donnell from: Ireland
July 04, 2013 5:04 PM
A great day for the greatest country in the world. Where else in the world is anyone so free to think, do or say?
Three cheers for the red, white and blue.

by: William from: Argentina
July 04, 2013 4:42 PM
Happy birthday America, and all the American people. You are for each men, women a guidance light, of freedom, and a secure and pridely land where to live, a land into nobody can suffer opression, tyrany or the common rights not treads, A land to project, to live the foundational originally dream, right to express opinions, a land to be certain of the government, elected by free people really works for the all American and foreigners liviing on there, in freedom, prosperity and a quiet lives.Have a Very happy 237 anniversary and too many more, congratulations U.S.A.

by: Cranksy from: USA
July 04, 2013 1:53 PM
What I am aware of liking about living in America is to be able to express my thoughts and feelings without fear. An example of this is: VOA has published what most Americans would consider unpatriotic comments of mine. I know very little about other countries, yet I am all but certain there are aspects of them I would prefer to my own country.

by: Inocencio S. Santillan C. from: Huaraz Peru
July 04, 2013 1:30 PM
Iam i.santillan, Peru, the computer is controled, and a wesh agreat Independece day of United States of America, the land of the Democracy in the plane, tode VOA, workers, and TVMartiworkers to. A Perubi friends' thanks.

by: Anonymous
July 04, 2013 11:02 AM
Gods bless world democracy and civilization

by: Rumsay Veila
July 04, 2013 10:02 AM
Sincere congratulations to free and independent nation

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs