President Donald Trump celebrated the story of America as “the greatest political journey in human history” in a Fourth of July commemoration before a cheering crowd of spectators on the grounds of the Lincoln Memorial. 

As rain fell on him, Trump called on Americans to “stay true to our cause” during a program that adhered to patriotic themes and hailed an eclectic mix of history’s heroes, from the armed forces, space, civil rights, and other endeavors in American life.

Today, we come together as one nation with this very special Salute to America. We celebrate our history, our people, and the heroes who proudly defend our flag—the brave men and women of the United States Military!”

President Donald Trump speaks during an Independence Day celebration in front of the Lincoln Memorial, Thursday, July 4, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

“As we gather this evening in the joy of freedom, we remember that we all share a truly extraordinary heritage. Together, we are part of one of the greatest stories ever told—the story of America.

That same American spirit that emboldened our founders has kept us strong throughout our history. To this day, that spirit runs through the veins of every American patriot. It lives on in each and every one of you,” the president said.

In a one-hour speech, the president strongly praised U.S. armed forces. He was in the company of supporters, White House officials, and military leaders. 

The president praised each branch during his speech: “The Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines, and, very soon, the Space Force.” 

He largely stuck to his script, avoiding diversions into his agenda or re-election campaign. But in one exception, he vowed, “Very soon, we will plant the American flag on Mars,” actually a distant goal not likely to be achieved until late in the 2020s if even then.

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump hosted military families at the White House for Independence Day on July 4, 2017. (White House)

With the Blue Angels, Air Force One flying, overhead and tanks standing near the National Mall, it seems that the event fulfilled President Trump’s vision of a military show for the Fourth of July celebration in D.C., much the same as the parade he enjoyed in Paris for Bastille Day in 2017. 

“Today, just as it did 243 years ago, the future of American Freedom rests on the shoulders of men and women willing to defend it.

As long as we stay true to our cause—as long as we remember our great history—and as long as we never stop fighting for a better future—then there will be nothing that America cannot do.”

“Our nation is stronger today than it ever was before. It is its strongest now,” the president said.

The president concluded his speech, saying, “We will never forget that we are Americans and the future belongs to us. The future belongs to the brave, the strong, the proud, and the free. We are one people chasing one dream and one magnificent destiny.”  

The celebration ended with a 35-minute firework show, the biggest ever in the history of Fourth of July event.

Includes reporting from The Associate Press

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