Independence Day 2013

WH_July_4th_Celebration

July 4, 1776, the United States Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress which announced that the thirteen American colonies then at war with Great Britain were now independent states. Written primarily by Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration is a formal explanation of why Congress had voted on July 2 to declare independence from Great Britain, more than a year after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. The birthday of the United States of America—Independence Day—is celebrated on July 4, the day the wording of the Declaration was approved by Congress.

We celebrate the 237th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the beginning of American democracy.

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Salute to the Military

President Obama and First Lady Michelle will celebrate the Fourth of July by hosting military heroes and their families with a Fifth Annual “Salute to the Military” USO Concert  at the White House.  The celebration includes a barbeque, USO concert and a view of fireworks on the South Lawn.

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6:00 PM EDT: President Obama delivers remarks from the South Lawn
8:10 PM EDT: USO Concert
9:10 PM EDT: National Capitol fireworks display

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Live Stream: http://www.whitehouse.gov/live

 iPhone  White House App.

http://www.militarywithptsd.org
http://www.militarywithptsd.org

American Revolutionary War

Happy July 4th America

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40 thoughts on “Independence Day 2013

  1. WH

    Wednesday, July 3, 2013

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    President Obama attends meeting at the White House

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  2. independence-day-flag-declaration

    Happy Independence Day America!

    Independence Day honors the birthday of the United States of America and the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. It’s a day of picnics and patriotic parades, a night of concerts and fireworks, and a reason to fly the American flag.

    * Declaration of Independence
    * Fun Facts About July 4
    * Today in History – July 4
    * U.S. Flag History and Facts
    * Historical Documents

    Fireworks
    * Fireworks Safety, Recalls, and Regulations
    * Firework Fact Sheet and State Laws

    • *** THANK YOU TO ALL THOSE WHO KEEP AMERICA SAFE: OUR ARMED FORCES, COAST GUARD, FIRE FIGHTERS AND POLICE !!! ***

      “ARMED FORCES SALUTE” Penn Yan Community Chorus

    • ASPCA Fourth of July Safety Tips

      Dog wearing star-spangled outfit in front of flag
      For many people, nothing beats lounging in the backyard on the Fourth of July with good friends and family—including the four-legged members of the household. While it may seem like a great idea to reward Rover with scraps from the grill and bring him along to watch fireworks, in reality some festive foods and products can be potentially hazardous to your pets. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center offers the following tips:

      * Never leave alcoholic drinks unattended where pets can reach them
      * Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals
      * Always keep matches and lighter fluid out of your pets’ reach
      * Keep your pets on their normal diet
      * Do not put glow jewelry on your pets, or allow them to play with it
      * Keep citronella candles, insect coils and oil products out of reach
      * Never use fireworks around pets
      * Loud, crowded fireworks displays are no fun for pets, so please resist the urge to take them to Independence Day festivities. Instead, keep your little guys safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area at home; preferably inside of the house

      For more: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/fourth-july-safety-tips

  3. Government profits from Ally? Go figure!

    July 2, 2013 By Allan Sloan – washingtonpost

    It’s taken almost five years, but one of the government’s ugliest ducklings is finally showing signs of turning into a swan. A profitable swan, at that. I’m talking about Ally Financial, formerly GMAC, General Motors’ finance subsidiary.

    Ally sucked up $17.2 billion of federal bailout money, much of which ended up being used to fill the rathole known as Residential Capital (which we’ll call ResCap from here on). ResCap, once one of the nation’s largest mortgage companies, was Ally’s golden asset during the housing boom. Alas, it turned to dross when the housing bubble popped. Ally finally put it into bankruptcy last year.

    It’s been a messy, contentious proceeding. But now it appears to be nearing an end, and Ally’s additional ResCap obligations seem to finally have a cap on them. That makes it possible to estimate what the government’s Ally investment is worth. Guess what? By my conservative math, that stake is worth $1.5 billion more than it cost. And I’m not including the $6.1 billion of dividends the government has collected from Ally. Taxpayers coming out ahead on a company that spent $8.3 billion, all of it lost, to keep ResCap afloat? That has committed another $2.3 billion to settle its ResCap liabilities? Yes, it’s true.

    Given that there’s no public market for Ally shares, how can I calculate that the government is ahead? By digging through a bunch of financial filings and applying a little common sense. You can find the full version at fortune.com/sloan.

    To give you the not-so-short version, I adjusted Ally’s stated net worth for the money it has set aside to pay ResCap’s creditors and regulators. Then I divided that net worth by the Ally shares outstanding. I took the per-share “book value” and multiplied it by the number of Ally shares the Treasury owns. I added the value of the Treasury’s Ally preferred stock and adjusted for a 2011 transaction in which the Treasury sold part of its Ally holdings. Bottom line: The stake is worth about $16 billion; the Treasury’s cost is about $14.5 billion.

    For more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/government-profits-from-ally-go-figure/2013/07/01/a189e6f0-e28b-11e2-aef3-339619eab080_story.html

  4. GM, Ford Sales Rise as U.S. Pace Reaches 67-Month High

    By Craig Trudell & Megan Durisin – Jul 2, 2013 2:07 PM PT

    General Motors Co. (GM) and Ford Motor Co. (F), makers of the best-selling big pickups in the U.S., said new-vehicle deliveries in June topped estimates as the industry selling pace accelerated to the fastest in 67 months.

    Ford sales of cars and light trucks gained 13 percent to 234,917, beating the 12 percent increase that was the average of 11 estimates. GM deliveries rose 6.5 percent to 264,843, exceeding the 2.1 percent average estimate of 11 analysts. Sales climbed 9.8 percent for Toyota Motor Corp. (7203), 9.7 percent for Honda (7267) Motor Co. and 8.2 percent for Chrysler Group LLC.

    Americans are buying new cars and trucks at the fastest rate since 2007 as they replace the oldest vehicles ever on U.S. roads. Ford, Chrysler and analysts said they expect replacement of older models, attractive financing offers and an improving economy will keep propelling industry sales as the Federal Reserve winds down its unprecedented easing programs.

    “The same factors are still in place: Pent-up demand is unleashing, credit is cheap and widely available, and in terms of trucks, it’s all about the economy recovering and housing starts,” Michelle Krebs, an analyst at auto researcher Edmunds.com, said in a telephone interview.

    U.S. light-vehicle sales climbed 9.2 percent to 1.4 million, exceeding the 1.38 million average estimate of 10 analysts in a survey of analysts by Bloomberg News. The industry sales rate surged to almost 16 million, exceeding the 15.6 million average estimate of 17 analysts. That’s the best monthly pace since 16.1 million in November 2007 and compares to 14.4 million a year earlier, according to researcher Autodata Corp.

    For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-02/chrysler-extends-streak-of-monthly-u-s-sales-gains.html

  5. Companies in U.S. Added More Workers Than Forecast in June

    Jul 3, 2013 5:30 AM PT By Lorraine Woellert – bloomberg

    Companies in the U.S. added more workers than economists projected in June as businesses prepared for a pickup in consumer demand in the second half of the year.

    The 188,000 increase in employment followed a revised 134,000 gain in May that was 1,000 less than initially estimated, the ADP Research Institute reported today. Based in Roseland, New Jersey, the institute is a division of Automatic Data Processing Inc., a company that manages employer payrolls. The median forecast of 38 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for an advance of 160,000 in June.

    Companies added workers last month as home prices strengthened and Americans continued to buy cars, electronics and other goods in the face of higher taxes that took effect in January. A Labor Department report on July 5 may show private payrolls rose by 175,000 last month, according to the Bloomberg survey median forecast.

    “The job market continues to gracefully navigate through the strongly blowing fiscal headwinds,” Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pennsylvania, said in a statement. Moody’s produces the figures with ADP. Today’s report shows that employment advances are “broad-based across industries and businesses of all sizes,” he said.

    Estimates in the Bloomberg survey ranged from gains of 100,000 to 196,000. May’s figure was revised from a previously reported increase of 135,000.

    For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-03/companies-in-u-s-added-more-workers-than-forecast-in-june.html

  6. Jobless Claims in U.S. Fall by 5,000 in Week to June 29

    Jul 3, 2013 5:50 AM PT By Michelle Jamrisko – bloomberg

    Fewer Americans filed claims for unemployment benefits last week, showing employers are holding off on firings as growth prospects improve.

    Jobless claims decreased by 5,000 to 343,000 in the week ended June 29 from a revised 348,000 in the prior period that was higher than initially reported, the Labor Department said today in Washington. The Bloomberg survey median called for 345,000 claims. No states were estimated and there was nothing unusual in the data, a Labor Department spokesman said shortly before the figures were released. The data were made public one day early due to the Independence Day holiday tomorrow.

    Muted staff reductions are a sign that companies are keeping headcount steady even as economic growth struggles to gain strength. Greater demand in the second half of the year, buoyed by consumer purchases such as automobiles, may persuade employers to add to staff as the Federal Reserve weighs whether labor market progress is enough to reduce its monthly bond-buying.

    “It’s been trending at a moderately low level,” said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James & Associates Inc. in St. Petersburg, Florida, who projected 345,000 claims. Among employers “there’s still some concern about hiring. Obviously they want to see an increase in demand for the goods and services they produce.”

    Stock-index futures trimmed earlier losses following better-than-projected ADP jobs data. The contract on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index maturing in September fell 0.3 percent to 1,602.7 at 8:35 a.m. in New York. It had been down as much as 0.8 percent on mounting political unrest in Egypt.

    For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-03/jobless-claims-in-u-s-fall-by-5-000-in-week-ended-june-29.html

  7. Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index

    Released On 7/3/2013 9:45:00 AM For wk6/30, 2013

    Consumer sentiment closed June at a fresh five-and-a-half-year high in the weekly Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, racking up its best quarter since Q4 of 2007.

    A slight three-week gain in ratings of the buying climate helped the advance, as did improvement among $75,000-plus earners.

    The CCI, based on Americans’ ratings of the national economy, the buying climate and their personal finances, stands this week at minus 27.5 on its scale of minus 100 to plus 100, its best since Jan. 27, 2008.

    The index broke into its recovery zone, the minus 20s, on April 14, a first since early 2008, and has stayed there for all but two weeks since – by far its most significant sustained rally since the start of the Great Recession.

    The CCI’s subcomponents this week are minus 51.9 for the national economy, minus 34.9 for the buying climate and plus 4.4 for personal finances.

    Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/markets/economic-calendar/

  8. ISM Non-Mfg Index

    Released On 7/3/2013 10:00:00 AM For Jun, 2013

    Prior Consensus Consensus Range Actual
    Composite Index – Level 53.7 54.5 53.5 to 55.5 52.2

    Market Consensus before announcement
    The composite index from the ISM non-manufacturing survey rose 6 tenths in May to 53.7. Business activity rose 1.5 points to 56.5 and-in a key plus-new orders also rose 1.5 points to 56.0 for the best reading since February. But employment, at 50.1, was dead flat and showed its weakest reading since July last year. Backlog orders were up slightly.

    Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/markets/economic-calendar/

  9. OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE RESPONSE TO

    Legally recognize Westboro Baptist Church as a hate group. and 4 other petitions

    Here’s What We Have to Say About the Westboro Baptist Church
    The We the People Terms of Participation explain that “the White House may decline to address certain procurement, law enforcement, adjudicatory, or similar matters properly within the jurisdiction of federal departments or agencies, federal courts, or state and local government.”

    To the extent that these petitions request a particular law enforcement or adjudicatory action, we cannot issue a comment. In addition, as a matter of practice, the federal government doesn’t maintain a list of hate groups. That’s the prerogative of private organizations like the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center.

    That all said, we agree that practices such as protesting at the funerals of men and women who died in service to this country and preventing their families from mourning peacefully are reprehensible– a point that President Obama has made for years. That’s why he signed a law to ensure that protesters keep an appropriate distance at military funerals. As the President has said, “The graves of our veterans are hallowed ground, and when men and women die in the service of their country and are laid to rest, it should be done with the utmost honor and respect.”

    For more: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/response/heres-what-we-have-say-about-westboro-baptist-church?utm_source=wethepeople&utm_medium=email&utm_content=westboro-response

  10. GOP WRONG WAY

    Koch brothers push GOP officials to sign anti-climate pledge

    Jul 3, 2013 11:45 AM EDT By Steve Benen – maddowblog

    The Republican Party is certainly fond of its pledges. Grover Norquist, of course, has his infamous anti-tax pledge that has interfered with federal policymaking in recent decades, and in 2011, GOP presidential candidates were pushed to endorse an anti-gay pledge from the National Organization for Marriage.

    But as it turns out, there’s another pledge that’s taken root in Republican politics that’s received far less attention. The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer reports this week on the “No Climate Tax Pledge” pushed by Charles and David Koch.

    Starting in 2008, a year after the Supreme Court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency could regulate greenhouse gasses as a form of pollution, accelerating possible Congressional action on climate change, the Koch-funded nonprofit group, Americans for Prosperity, devised the “No Climate Tax” pledge. It has been, according to the study, a component of a remarkably successful campaign to prevent lawmakers from addressing climate change. Two successive efforts to control greenhouse-gas emissions by implementing cap-and-trade energy bills died in the Senate, the latter of which was specifically targeted by A.F.P.’s pledge.

    By now, [411] current office holders nationwide have signed the pledge. Signatories include the entire Republican leadership in the House of Representatives, a third of the members of the House of Representatives as a whole, and a quarter of U.S. senators.

    The pledge, uncovered as part of a two-year study by the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University, forces policymakers to oppose any legislation relating to climate change unless it is accompanied by an equivalent amount of tax cuts.”

    And what, pray tell, do tax cuts have to do with the climate crisis and effects of global warming? Nothing in particular, but the Koch brothers hope to make it impossible to pass any bills related to carbon emissions, and by demanding tax cuts, they’re effectively eliminating any credible policy options — as Mayer explained, “Since most solutions to the problem of greenhouse-gas emissions require costs to the polluters and the public, the pledge essentially commits those who sign to it to vote against nearly any meaningful bill regarding global warning, and acts as yet another roadblock to action.”

    For more: http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2013/07/03/19268215-koch-brothers-push-gop-officials-to-sign-anti-climate-pledge?lite

    • The Koch idiots remind me of the evil villains in old westerns and old detective movies. In the in the good guy(President Obama) defeats them and prevails making thins right for the citizens. They are foolish and won’t take heed so their demise and destruction will come quickly. Evil will not win.

  11. WH

    Thursday, July 4, 2013

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    President Obama meets with his National Security Team
    Situation Room, White House

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    11:00 AM
    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM
    2:00 PM
    3:00 PM
    4:00 PM
    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    President Obama delivers remarks
    South Lawn

    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    8:10 PM
    USO Concert

    9:00 PM
    9:10 PM
    National capital fireworks display

    10:00 PM

  12. Fireworks

    Independence Day

    President Obama and the First Lady celebrate the Fourth of July by hosting military heroes and their families for an Independence Day celebration.
    South Lawn, White House

    6:00 PM EDT
    President Obama delivers remarks from the South Lawn

    8:10 PM EDT
    USO Concert

    9:10 PM EDT
    National capital fireworks display

    • Celebrating Independence Day

      Remarks of President Barack Obama
      Weekly Address
      The White House

      July 4, 2013

      Hi everybody. I hope you all had a safe and happy Fourth of July, filled with parades, cookouts, fireworks and family reunions.

      We celebrated at the White House with a few hundred members of the military and their families. And we took a moment amid the festivities to remember what our Independence Day is all about – what happened 237 years ago, and what it meant to the world.

      On July 4th, 1776, a small band of patriots declared that we were a people created equal – free to think and worship and live as we please. It was a declaration heard around the world – that we were no longer colonists, we were Americans, and our destiny would not be determined for us; it would be determined by us.

      It was a bold and tremendously brave thing to do. It was also nearly unthinkable. At that time, kings and princes and emperors ruled the world. But those patriots were certain that a better way was possible. And to achieve it – to win their freedom – they were willing to lay it all on the line. Their lives. Their fortunes. Their sacred honor.

      They fought a revolution. Few would have bet on our side to win. But for the first of many times to come, America proved the doubters wrong.

      And now, 237 years later, the United States – this improbable nation – is the greatest in the world. A land of liberty and opportunity. A global defender of peace and freedom. A beacon of hope to people everywhere who cherish those ideals.

      Generations of Americans made our country what it is today – farmers and teachers, engineers and laborers, entrepreneurs and elected leaders – people from all walks of life, from all parts of the world, all pulling in the same direction.

      And now we, the people, must make their task our own – to live up to the words of that Declaration of Independence, and secure liberty and opportunity for our own children, and for future generations.

      I want to say a special word of thanks to the men and women of our military, who have played such a vital role in the story of our nation. You have defended us at home and abroad. And you have fought on our nation’s behalf to make the world a better, safer place. People in scattered corners of the world are living in peace today, free to write their own futures, because of you. We are grateful for your service and your sacrifice, especially those still serving in harm’s way and your families here at home.

      So, God bless you all. And may God bless the United States of America.

  13. July 03, 2013

    Readout of the President’s Phone Call with Chancellor Merkel of Germany

    President Obama spoke by phone today with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, who offered condolences on the tragic deaths of 19 firefighters in Arizona. The President and the Chancellor discussed the recent reports of surveillance activities allegedly conducted by the U.S. National Security Agency. The President assured the Chancellor that the United States takes seriously the concerns of our European allies and partners. The two leaders reaffirmed the importance of continued close cooperation between our respective intelligence services in the fight against terrorism and other threats to the security of the United States, Germany, and our allies. The leaders agreed to hold a high-level meeting of U.S. and German security officials in the coming days to discuss these matters in greater detail. They also looked forward to the initiation of a U.S.-EU/EU Member State dialogue on the collection and oversight of intelligence and questions of privacy and data protection, as proposed by Attorney General Eric Holder, as early as July 8. Finally, the leaders reiterated their strong support for the launch of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations and welcomed the upcoming first round of discussions.

  14. July 03, 2013

    Statement by President Barack Obama on Egypt

    As I have said since the Egyptian Revolution, the United States supports a set of core principles, including opposition to violence, protection of universal human rights, and reform that meets the legitimate aspirations of the people. The United States does not support particular individuals or political parties, but we are committed to the democratic process and respect for the rule of law. Since the current unrest in Egypt began, we have called on all parties to work together to address the legitimate grievances of the Egyptian people, in accordance with the democratic process, and without recourse to violence or the use of force.

    The United States is monitoring the very fluid situation in Egypt, and we believe that ultimately the future of Egypt can only be determined by the Egyptian people. Nevertheless, we are deeply concerned by the decision of the Egyptian Armed Forces to remove President Morsy and suspend the Egyptian constitution. I now call on the Egyptian military to move quickly and responsibly to return full authority back to a democratically elected civilian government as soon as possible through an inclusive and transparent process, and to avoid any arbitrary arrests of President Morsy and his supporters. Given today’s developments, I have also directed the relevant departments and agencies to review the implications under U.S. law for our assistance to the Government of Egypt.

    For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/07/03/statement-president-barack-obama-egypt

  15. Why Delaying the Employer Mandate is Good Policy and Great Politics

    Wednesday, July 03, 2013 | Posted by Spandan C at 8:40 AM – ThePeoplesView

    Yesterday’s White House announcement that the administration would be delaying the enforcement of the employer responsibility provision for a year sent Republicans thumping their chests, and it made the usual suspects on the “Left’s” self-proclaimed representatives on the media quite disappointed. Knew it, they said, of course Obama would sell out to big business.

    For those who refuse to learn, the lesson will always be lost. But Barack Obama doesn’t do things without thinking a hundred steps ahead. The move to delay the employer mandate was made for two reasons: policy and politics. On the policy count, it was the right call – both because of the administration’s effort to cut red tape (the reason they cited), their success at arresting health care costs, and because it serves the policy goal from a progressive standpoint to sever health insurance from employment. On politics, it was brilliant – not simply because it deprived Republicans of examples to pull in the middle of a heated election season but more significantly because the move would give Democrats breathing room to concentrate on the rewards of the law rather than the penalties.

    Warning: If you believe that all business is inherently evil and needs to be slapped with big penalties asap and beat up, then the following explanation won’t work for you. But if what you are looking for is a health care system to really work and for progressive ideas to advance, follow me.

    For more: http://www.thepeoplesview.net/2013/07/why-delaying-employer-mandate-is-good.html

    • July 04, 2013

      Remarks by the President at Fourth of July Celebration

      South Lawn

      5:58 P.M. EDT

      THE PRESIDENT: Welcome to the White House. (Applause.) And Happy Fourth of July! (Applause.)

      So we’ve tried to plan a proper Fourth of July celebration. We’re grilling some food. We’ve got the fireworks coming. We’ve got lots of music. The band fun. is here with us today. (Applause.) And we’ve got multiple groups from our Marine Band
      — we’ve got the Marine Concert Band. We’ve got the Dixieland Band. We’ve got the Marching Band. And we’ve got Free Country, the country band. (Applause.)

      So we hope everybody has a great time. We are incredibly grateful for your service, and we’re thankful that you get a chance to spend the Fourth here with us. And by the way, it’s Malia’s birthday, so she is appreciative that you’re all going to be wishing her happy birthday as well. (Applause.)

      So I don’t want to keep you from the food, but let me just say this. There are children all over the world right now asking their parents what’s so special about today. And maybe some of those little ones are running around even here on the South Lawn, thinking, well, this is just an excuse for some hotdogs. (Laughter.) But it’s worth remembering what happened 237 years ago on this date and what it meant to the world.

      On July 4, 1776, a small band of patriots declared that we were a people created equal, free to think and worship and live as we please; that our destiny would not be determined for us, it would be determined by us. And it was bold and it was brave. And it was unprecedented, it was unthinkable. At that time in human history, it was kings and princes and emperors who made decisions.

      But those patriots knew there was a better way of doing things, that freedom was possible, and that to achieve their freedom they’d be willing to lay down their lives, their fortunes and their honor. And so they fought a revolution. And few would have bet on their side, but for the first time in many times to come, America proved the doubters wrong.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/07/04/remarks-president-fourth-july-celebration

  16. Obama holds holiday meeting on Egypt

    7/4/13 5:31 PM EDT By JOSH GERSTEIN – POLITICO44

    President Barack Obama held a holiday meeting with members of his national security team Thursday to discuss the ouster of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, a White House spokeswoman said.

    Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry were among those joining the meeting in the White House Situation Room, National Security Council spokesperson Bernadette Meehan said, adding that some officials took part by secure video conference.

    “Members of the president’s national security team have been in touch with Egyptian officials and our regional partners to convey the importance of a quick and responsible return of full authority to a democratically elected civilian government as soon as possible; a transparent political process that is inclusive of all parties and groups; avoiding any arbitrary arrests of President Morsy and his supporters; and the responsibility of all groups and parties to avoid violence,” Meehan said.

    Secretary of State John Kerry spoke Thursday with Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr, who told Kerry that Morsi’s forced departure was not a military coup, Reuters reported.

    For more: http://www.politico.com/politico44/2013/07/obama-holds-holiday-meeting-on-egypt-167636.html

    • Fireworks on the National Mall from the White House

      Published on Jul 4, 2013

      The National Mall fireworks as seen from the South Lawn of the White House. July 4, 2013.

  17. U.S. troops celebrate final July 4th holiday at Afghanistan base

    7/05/13 07:44 AM ET By Carlo Muñoz – TheHill

    KHOST, Afghanistan — There were no fireworks or barbecues to celebrate what will likely be the final July 4th weekend for U.S. troops stationed here at Forward Operating Base Salerno.

    But for troops who have served multiple rotations in Afghanistan, as well as soldiers on their first deployment, celebrating July 4th in a war zone “means something more” than the traditional celebrations stateside, Sgt. Maj. Anthony Grinston with the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) told The Hill.

    “I do what I do … so [when] I get home, I can go to a barbecue” and not worry about attacks like 9/11 or the Boston Marathon bombings, Grinston said during the unit’s holiday celebrations here.

    That additional responsibility means having to celebrate July 4th a day later than Americans back home, to avoid possible attacks against the base during the actual holiday.

    It also means missing more July 4th weekends, Christmases and Thanksgivings than Grinston can remember over the course of the 12-year war.

    “I am okay with that … this is what we have been asked to do,” Grinston said.

    But for many of the younger soldiers here, some on their first tour in Afghanistan, the idea of spending July 4th in a war zone “has not really sunk in yet,” Maj. Mark Morgan, the unit’s chaplain, said Friday.

    In some ways, “a holiday over here is just another day,” Morgan said.

    Located near the volatile Afghan-Pakistan border, 16 to 18 hour days are the norm for the soldiers stationed at Forward Operating Base Salerno.

    The realization of spending the holidays in a place like Afghanistan can be overwhelming for some troops here and elsewhere in the country, Morgan said.

    Sgt. Larry Sanders, who works the unit’s air traffic control operations, has missed two July 4th weekends, Christmases and Thanksgivings while on deployments in Afghanistan.

    “You miss times like that … that’s time you can’t get back,” Sanders told The Hill.

    But during days like July 4th, “family is just as important to the fight” in terms of support coming from loved ones back home, he explained.

    “And they understand that,” according to Sanders.

    Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/defcon-hill/operations/309301-us-troops-celebrate-final-july-4th-in-afghanistan-

  18. ********************
    THIS POST IS NOW CLOSED NBLB

    Come on over to my newest post titled: “Economics of Immigration Reform ”

    ********************

    To get to the newest post click on “HOME” at the top of the thread

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