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Obama thanks US troops on 4th of July

Soldiers listen to a message from  US President Barack Obama at the US base in Bagram, Afghanistan, on July 4, 2013
Soldiers listen to a message from US President Barack Obama at the US base in Bagram, Afghanistan, on July 4, 2013. Obama thanked members of the American military both at home and serving abroad as he marked Independence Day.

US President Barack Obama thanked members of the American military both at home and serving abroad as he marked Independence Day on Thursday.

He said that 237 years ago American colonists declared independence from Britain and waged a revolution to achieve it, a bold thing he called "nearly unthinkable," and that few thought they would prevail.

"But for the first of many times to come, America proved the doubters wrong," Obama said in a weekly radio address.

America was now a "global defender of peace and freedom," he added.

Of people in the military, he said they had defended the country at home and abroad and fought on the nation's behalf to make the world a better place.

"People in scattered corners of the world are living in peace today, free to write their own futures, because of you," the president said.

"We are grateful for your service and your sacrifice, especially those still serving in harm's way, and (for) your families here at home."

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