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A Beacon of Hope': Obama Issues July 4 Address About Peace, Freedom and America's Global Role

"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."

President Barack Obama used his weekly address to urge Americans on the Fourth of July to live up to the words of the Declaration of Independence by securing liberty and opportunity for their own children as well as for future generations.

In his weekly radio and online address, Obama commemorated the Fourth of July by looking back at the day in 1776, 237 years ago, that a small band of patriots declared those in the American colonies "a people created equal" -- free to think and worship and live as they 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," the president said.

President Barack Obama (Photo Credit: AP)

Obama also highlighted the fact that few bet that the Americans would win the revolution that followed. He called it -- and with good reason -- the first of many times the doubters of America were proven wrong.

"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," Obama continued. "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."

In addition to thanking U.S. military members who have defended the nation at home and abroad, Obama also praised America as a defender of peace and freedom around the globe -- "a beacon of hope to people everywhere who cherish those ideals."

Watch Obama's address, below:

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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