Salute to the Military 2013 at the White House (USO photo by Samantha Quigley)
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PHOTOS: White House, USO Treat Military Families During Fifth Annual Fourth of July Celebration

Friday, July 05, 2013

For the fifth consecutive year, President Barack Obama and his family, with the help of the USO, welcomed military families to the White House and the South Lawn to help celebrate the Fourth of July in grand style.

Even on a very hot and sticky afternoon, it is tough to beat the atmosphere of walking around the president's backyard and gazing at the Washington Monument, which would be backdropped by bright fireworks later in the evening.

Obama made some brief statements (careful not to get between hungry troops and the chow) to commence the event, thanking our nation's servicemen and women for the job they do and the dedication of military families.

"What makes us great is not our size or our wealth, but our values and our ideals and the fact that we're willing to fight for them," Obama said. "A land of liberty and opportunity; a global defender of peace and freedom; a beacon of hope for people everywhere who cherish those ideals."

The president also identified individual troops from each branch for their achievements and for embodying their respective group's finest qualities.

"Every day, men and women like them – and like all of you – are carrying forward the ideals that inspired that 'American Dream' 237 years ago," he said. "Defending our nation and our freedoms with strength and with sacrifice is your daily charge. And it's the charge of all of us – the charge of all who serve worldwide, including our troops that are still in harm's way and their families back home. They serve, too. And so we think of them, we pray for them."

Following the president's remarks, he and the first family greeted many families along the rope walk as the festivities continued. Children frolicked around the lawn with games and activities, only stopping to cool down with mist zones and ice cream treats while military couples began filling plates with great grub from the grill as "The President’s Own" U.S. Marine Band kept the beat.

As the day turned to evening, the band fun. took the stage to entertain the crowd and act as prelude to the main event: a Washington sky filled with some of the country's finest fireworks, backed by some of the nation's proudest anthems. (For more images, visit our Flickr page.) 


The president and first lady address the crowd, accompanied by special servicemember guests and their families, to kick off the day's event.


Fourth of July on the South Lawn of the White House ... tough to beat.


The crowd gathers along the ropeline for a chance to meet and shake hands with the first family.


What's a Fourth of July picnic without a great spread? Families dig into the many assorted treats.


The band fun. helps cap off a memorable holiday for many military families.

Images: To view more photos, visit our Flickr page. 

Join the USO to Honor, Salute and Celebrate Our Troops and Their Families during our current campaign. Learn more today. 

(USO photos by Samantha Quigley / Produced by Christian Pelusi) 

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