President Hosts Troops, Families for Independence Day Party
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, July 5, 2012 President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted a Fourth of July party for hundreds of service members and their families on the South Lawn of the White House yesterday.
The partygoers enjoyed traditional holiday food and a concert by country music star Brad Paisley before taking in the fireworks display that lit up the nation’s capital.
In remarks during the festivities, the president singled out one guest from each service for special recognition.
“We salute our soldiers, like Sgt. Alan Ruehs, who, in the midst of an enemy ambush in Afghanistan, risked his own life to save the lives of four others,” he said. “We salute our sailors, like Petty Officer Taylor Morris, who suffered terrible wounds while serving in Afghanistan on an explosive ordnance disposal team, but who inspires us all through his incredible recovery. We salute an airman: Col. Charles Barnett, who led close to 200 combat missions in Afghanistan and still serves his country by volunteering to care for our fallen heroes at Arlington National Cemetery.
“We salute a Marine: Cpl. Alex Nguyen, who sustained serious injuries when his vehicle struck an IED in Afghanistan, but who carries on stronger than ever,” he continued. “We salute a ‘Coastie’ from my hometown of Chicago: Lt. Cmdr. Michelle Watson, who was one of the first African-American women to graduate from the Coast Guard Academy and went on to perform exceptional service in Operation Enduring Freedom.”
All of the invited service members represent a generation of heroes that has earned its place in history alongside the greatest generations, Obama said.
“Because of your service and sacrifice, all of our troops are now out of Iraq,” he said. “Because of your service and sacrifice, we took the fight to al-Qaida and we brought Osama bin Laden to justice. Because of your service and sacrifice, we’re transitioning out of Afghanistan. We will remain ready for any threat. That is all because of you.”