17:01 GMT +318 February 2019
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    President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump walk from Marine One across the South Lawn to White House in Washington, Saturday, May 27, 2017, as they return from Sigonella, Italy

    'Strong and Free': Trump Praises US Military on American Independence Day

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    US President Donald Trump applauded the military for defending the nation’s freedom on Wednesday, in a speech at the White House marking the 242nd anniversary of the Independence Declaration.

    "Thank you for keeping America safe, strong, proud, mighty and free. God bless you, God bless our military and God bless America. Happy 4th of July," he said at the celebration picnic with First Lady Melania standing next to him.

    He said the US liberty had been "earned through the blood, sweat and sacrifice of American patriots" who had fought in the fields of Gettysburg, the sands of Iojima and the mountains of Afghanistan.

    Trump also referred to his pet project of building a new and independent space branch of the US armed forces, saying "we very well may soon have the Space Force you’ve been hearing about."

    In June, Donald Trump announced he had ordered the Pentagon to create a Space Force as the sixth, "separate but equal" branch of the US military, adding that "space is a warfighting domain."  He said the move opened a new chapter in the competition to explore space, with the goal of besting nations such as Russia and China.

    However, it reportedly remains unclear how Trump's order will affect a 1967 treaty signed by more than 100 nations, including the United States, former Soviet Union and China, banning the militarization of space.


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