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*-- Obama celebrates Independence Day, 'freedom paid for by military members' --*

WASHINGTON (UPI) - President Barack Obama and his family enjoyed Independence Day celebrations at a White House event where he said freedom is paid for by military members.

"Freedom is not free. It's paid by all the folks who are here today and all the folks who are around the world," Obama told service members and their families who attended the celebration event at the South Lawn of the White House after a performance by musician Bruno Mars.

"Without you, we could not enjoy the incredible blessings that we do in this greatest country on Earth," Obama said moments before a fireworks display over the National Mall. "Michelle and I, Malia, Sasha -- we could not be more privileged to have gotten to know so many of you, and to know all the sacrifices that you make on our behalf each and every day."

Obama also thanked the service members who could not be with their families because they are stationed overseas.

"We want to especially remember them," Obama said.

The crowd chanted "USA! USA!" after Obama delivered his brief speech. The concert was sponsored by United Service Organizations.

It doesn't get much better than celebrating America with the people you love. Happy Fourth of July, everyone!- President Obama (@POTUS) July 4, 2015


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