WASHINGTON (AP) — Telling U.S. troops that "America is proud of all of you," President Barack Obama marked the Fourth of July holiday by hosting a barbecue and concert for military members and families on the South Lawn of the White House.
The president and first lady Michelle Obama greeted more than 1,200 guests from a White House balcony Monday evening. After brief remarks, the first couple stood in the driveway and shook hands with visitors.
"You represent the latest in a long line of heroes who have served our country with honor, who have made incredible sacrifices to protect the freedoms that we all enjoy," Obama said.
"You've done everything we could've asked of you," he said, also recognizing the "families that serve alongside of you with strength and devotion."
This is the third year the first family has celebrated July Fourth with service members and their families. Obama told his guests Monday that the occasion was "a chance to get out of the uniform, relax a little bit and have some fun."
Red, white and blue lanterns decorated trees on the South Lawn and miniature American flags adorned more than 50 tables spread across the yard. Children wearing face paint in the patriotic colors played with balloon animals.
Providing the music for the celebration: rock band Train, singer-songwriter Amos Lee and the U.S. Marine Band.
The concert was presented by the USO in its 70th year of providing support for Americans in the military.