By Kyle Balluck
President Obama marked the Fourth of July on Thursday by calling on Americans to live up to the words of the Declaration of Independence.
“It was a bold and tremendously brave thing to do,” Obama said. “It was also nearly unthinkable. At that time, kings and princes and emperors ruled the world. But those patriots were certain that a better way was possible. And to achieve it – to win their freedom – they were willing to lay it all on the line. Their lives. Their fortunes. Their sacred honor.”
“They fought a revolution. Few would have bet on our side to win. But for the first of many times to come, America proved the doubters wrong."
In the address, Obama did not mention developments in Egypt, where the army on Wednesday toppled President Mohamed Morsi and suspended the country's constitution. In a statement late Wednesday, Obama said the U.S. "continues to believe firmly that the best foundation for lasting stability in Egypt is a democratic political order with participation from all sides and all political parties —secular and religious, civilian and military."
"During this uncertain period, we expect the military to ensure that the rights of all Egyptian men and women are protected, including the right to peaceful assembly, due process, and free and fair trials in civilian courts. Moreover, the goal of any political process should be a government that respects the rights of all people, majority and minority; that institutionalizes the checks and balances upon which democracy depends; and that places the interests of the people above party or faction."
The president on Thursday recognized generations of Americans that “made our country what it is today – farmers and teachers, engineers and laborers, entrepreneurs and elected leaders – people from all walks of life, from all parts of the world, all pulling in the same direction."
"And now we, the people, must make their task our own – to live up to the words of that Declaration of Independence, and secure liberty and opportunity for our own children, and for future generations," he said.
The president closed his address by thanking the men and women of the U.S. military. “You have defended us at home and abroad,” Obama said. “And you have fought on our nation’s behalf to make the world a better, safer place. People in scattered corners of the world are living in peace today, free to write their own futures, because of you. We are grateful for your service and your sacrifice, especially those still serving in harm’s way and your families here at home.”
The president will celebrate the holiday this evening at the White House with a few hundred members of the U.S. military and their families.