Tuesday was a day the U.S. celebrated its independence from Great Britain, but President Donald Trump made sure it was also a day in which those who have sacrificed to ensure America remains the "land of the free and the home of the brave" were honored.
During a military appreciation picnic, he and First Lady Melania Trump hosted on the White House lawn, the president conveyed his thanks, once again, to America's heroes with a brief speech from the front balcony. He took a moment to recognize Vice President Mike Pence's son, 1st Lt. Michael Pence, as well as members of each of the service branches.
- Army Capt. Jean Gwon, Company Commander of the Old Guard, the 120-soldier unit that guards the Tomb of the Unknowns 24 hours a day
- Marine Sgt. Yannick Tumukunde, a technician and martial arts trainer for Marine Squadron One, which operates the fleet of helicopters the president uses under the designation Marine One
- Navy Lt. Cdr. Allison Maybrey, an oceanographer who specializes in analyzing "electromagnetic warfare" threats to the U.S.
- Air Force Tech. Sgt. Ralph Bunnell, who leads a 50-member security detail that provides protection to the president, vice president and visiting foreign heads of state
- Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Tony Franklin, who is responsible for the armament of 15 Coast Guard units in the Washington, D.C., area
"It is because of you that well over 300 million American citizens can live in freedom," he said in his comments. "America is proud of all of the brave men and women who serve in every branch of our great military ...
"Each of you here today represents that rare combination of patriotism, virtue and courage that our citizens have always—and I mean always—admired and that our enemies have always feared. At this moment, your brothers and sisters in arms are posted around the globe, fighting our enemies and standing watch to protect our nation. They're fighting for us. We are thanking them, praying for them and saluting them for their selfless sacrifice.
"There could be no greater privilege than to serve as your commander in chief. I pledge my unwavering support for you, for your families and your missions. I will always have your back. I will always, under all circumstances—you'll be coming back here, and I will always have your back."
See his complete remarks in the video clip above.