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

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land In French Port

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching 'Fortress Europe' More

Video Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

New Hints That Dark Matter Exists

New evidence from International Space Station hints at existence of dark matter and dark energy 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.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid