US president Barack Obama has said the men and women fighting abroad for the United States have earned their place among "the greatest of generations".
He is also calling on all Americans to "make sure our troops always have the support they need".
Obama spoke during a July 4 celebration for members of the military and their families, complete with a barbecue and a view of the evening's fireworks from the South Lawn of the White House.
It is not just the country's birthday, but also first daughter Malia Obama's - her twelfth.
Comedian Cedric the Entertainer, singer Brandi Carlile and rock band The Killers were on the bill for the White House party.