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The Latest: Trump says military keeps America safe, strong

July 5, 2018
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The fireworks on the National Mall are seen from the South Lawn of the White House, Wednesday, July 4, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump (all times local):

6:20 p.m.

President Donald Trump says the U.S. military keeps America safe, strong, proud, mighty and free and thanks them for serving.

Trump addressed hundreds of military families Wednesday at a White House Fourth of July picnic. He was accompanied by his wife, Melania.

The president says the adoption of the Declaration of Independence 242 years ago changed the course of human history. But he adds that America is free only because of the brave Americans who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to defend the country. Trump says he’s happy to celebrate with some of these men and women.

The military families are also being treated to a concert on the South Lawn and a view of the annual fireworks show on the National Mall.

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11:25 a.m.

President Donald Trump has tweeted a military-themed, Independence Day video greeting to the nation.

In a short recording, Trump said Wednesday he and first lady Melania Trump wished everyone a happy holiday.

Trump noted the day marked the 242nd anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. But his focus was on the U.S. military and veterans. Trump declared, “Our freedom has been earned through the blood and sweat and sacrifice of American heroes. And these are great American heroes.”

Trump is to hold a picnic Wednesday afternoon for military families at the White House, followed by a concert and with a view of the National Park Service’s fireworks display.

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12:05 a.m.

President Donald Trump celebrated active-duty service members and veterans during a military tribute on the eve of Independence Day.

Delivering remarks at a “Salute to Service” charity dinner at the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, Trump praised “Americans of every generation” who served in the armed forces.

The event was held in conjunction with the PGA Tour’s Greenbrier Classic, which has been rechristened as “A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier.” The venerable resort is owned by the state’s Republican governor, presidential ally Jim Justice.

Highlighting his efforts to boost spending for the military, Trump said, “As the golfers can tell you, the stronger we get, the less likely it is that we will have to use it.”

An avid golfer, Trump praised the “incredible athletes” in attendance.

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