Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) — President Obama praised the families of U.S. military members and the U.S. Men’s Soccer Team in his weekly address commemorating the July 4th holiday. In doing so, he highlighted issues at the heart of both the ongoing scandal in the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the recent Supreme Court ruling in the Hobby Lobby case.
Speaking of American heroes and groundbreakers, the president first spoke of the soccer team that drew the attention of much of America over the past few weeks. “We are so proud of you,” Obama told the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team, “You’ve got a lot of new believers.” Joking about goalkeeper Tim Howard’s newly-earned nickname “the secretary of defense” after his stunning performance in Tuesday’s match, Obama joked, “Chuck Hagel’s got that spot right now, but if there is a vacancy, I’ll think about it.”
The president spent most of his speech, however, highlighting the founding fathers and “early patriots” who believed in and the men and women of the armed forces and their families who continue to fight for the American principle that “we are all created equal.”
“You keep us safe, and you keep the United States of America a shining beacon of hope for the world,” Obama said. “And for that, you and your families deserve not only the appreciation of a grateful nation, but our enduring commitment to serve you as well as you’ve served us.”
Read the full transcript of the president’s address:
Hi, everybody. I hope you’re all having a great Fourth of July weekend.
I want to begin today by saying a special word to the U.S. Men’s Soccer Team, who represented America so well the past few weeks. We are so proud of you. You’ve got a lot of new believers. And I know there’s actually a petition on the White House website to make Tim Howard the next Secretary of Defense. Chuck Hagel’s got that spot right now, but if there is a vacancy, I’ll think about it.
It was 238 years ago that our founders came together in Philadelphia to launch our American experiment. There were farmers and businessmen, doctors and lawyers, ministers and a kite-flying scientist.
Those early patriots may have come from different backgrounds and different walks of life. But they were united by a belief in a simple truth – that we are all created equal; that we are all endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights; and that among these rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Over the years, that belief has sustained us through war and depression; peace and prosperity. It’s helped us build the strongest democracy, the greatest middle class, and the most powerful military the world has ever known. And today, there isn’t a nation on Earth that wouldn’t gladly trade places with the United States of America.
But our success is only possible because we have never treated those self-evident truths as self-executing. Generations of Americans have marched, organized, petitioned, fought and even died to extend those rights to others; to widen the circle of opportunity for others; and to perfect this union we love so much.
That’s why I want to say a special thanks to the men and women of our armed forces and the families who serve with them – especially those service members who spent this most American of holidays serving your country far from home.
You keep us safe, and you keep the United States of America a shining beacon of hope for the world. And for that, you and your families deserve not only the appreciation of a grateful nation, but our enduring commitment to serve you as well as you’ve served us.
God bless you all. And have a great weekend.
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