The Obamas hosted a patriotic event at the White House, which included a Bruno Mars concert

Credit: Yuri Gripas/Reuters

President Barack Obama, speaking Saturday night at the White House, reminded the men and women who serve this country that it is their sacrifice that secures us all our freedom, just minutes before the night sky exploded with the annual Fourth of July fireworks display.

The White House celebration was rain-soaked, and its annual picnic for the military that afternoon already canceled, but a crowd of several thousand still turned out for the evening, which included a USO-sponsored concert by Bruno Mars.

“We are grateful to our armed services. We are grateful to our military families. We are grateful to our veterans,” Obama said onstage with wife Michelle and Mars.

“Without you, we could not enjoy the incredible blessings that we do in this greatest country on Earth.”

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“So we just want to wish you the happiest 4th of July and remind ourselves that freedom is not free,” Obama continued. “It’s paid by all the folks who are here today and all the folks who are around the world.”

His brief remarks were followed by a 17-minute display of – what else? – red, white and blue fireworks.

The official White House Twitter account used the glittering backdrop for a sweet photo showing a tender moment between Michelle and Barack.