President Barack Obama said Monday that even while celebrating the nation's Independence Day with hot dogs and fireworks, "it's important to remember what a miracle this country is."
He spoke at a White House event with performances by Janelle Monae and Kendrick Lamar in honor of the country's Independence Day.
"How incredibly lucky we are that people, generations ago, were willing to take up arms and fight for our freedom. And then people, inside this country, understanding that there were imperfections in our union and were willing to keep fighting on behalf of extending that freedom to all people and not just some," Obama said.
Rain forced a larger picnic with military members and their families to be canceled for the second consecutive year. Washington's main fireworks display went on as scheduled, but was difficult to see for those watching on the National Mall.
Obama, whose term ends in January, said there is a need to recommit to making sure everyone in the U.S. has opportunity and "gets a fair shot." He said the country has to look after its military veterans and ensure that every child gets a good education.
"That is what we should be striving for on Independence Day," he said.
The president closed his remarks by leading everyone in the room in singing "Happy Birthday" to his daughter Malia, who turned 18 on Monday.