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Obama July 4th Speech: Military Members 'Represent What Is Best In America'

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President Barack Obama gestures during a naturalization ceremony for active duty service members in the East Room of the White House, Wednesday, July 4, 2012, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Barack Obama gestures during a naturalization ceremony for active duty service members in the East Room of the White House, Wednesday, July 4, 2012, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama is marking the Fourth of July by thanking service members and their families, who he said "represent what is best in America."

The president, accompanied by first lady Michelle Obama, hosted a barbecue and concert Wednesday for the families on the White House South Lawn.

Obama saluted "this generation of heroes" for their service and sacrifice to defend American freedoms, specifically thanking them for bringing Osama bin Laden to justice and working to get out of Afghanistan.

He said the nation "will always be there for you, just as you've been there for us." He said it was his promise, and America's promise.

Afterward, the Obamas shook hands and posed for pictures with eager visitors. The U.S. Marine Band and country singer Brad Paisley performed.

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