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Originally published July 4, 2010 at 7:25 PM | Page modified July 4, 2010 at 8:00 PM

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Military, families honored at Obama Fourth of July bash

President Obama marked the Fourth of July on Sunday at a South Lawn barbecue honoring service members and their families.

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — President Obama marked the Fourth of July on Sunday at a South Lawn barbecue honoring service members and their families.

"We celebrate the principles that are timeless, tenets first declared by men of property and wealth but which gave rise to what Lincoln called a new birth of freedom in America — civil rights and voting rights, workers' rights and women's rights, and the rights of every American," Obama said from a White House balcony with first lady Michelle Obama at his side.

Obama noted that people across the country were firing up their barbecues and enjoying the company of family and friends.

"Now, of course I'll admit that the backyard's a little bigger here, but it's the same spirit," Obama said to laughter.

"Michelle and I couldn't imagine a better way to celebrate America's birthday than with America's extraordinary men and women in uniform and their families."

The estimated 1,200 guests included active-duty service members and their families, wounded troops, people with family members overseas, and families of troops who have died.

Obama individually thanked each service branch, naming an exemplary member of each who stood on the balcony with the president and first lady.

Obama, who wore a blue short-sleeve shirt, and his wife spent about 15 minutes shaking hands and exchanging greetings with eager members of the crowd.

Guests ate traditional July Fourth fare — hot dogs, hamburgers and grilled chicken with potato salad and corn on the cob. Plenty of red, white and blue decorated the South Lawn, from colorful tablecloths to paper lanterns hanging from trees.

Entertainers scheduled to perform for the gathering were singer Brandi Carlile, the rock band The Killers, comedian Cedric the Entertainer and the U.S. Marine Band.

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