President Donald Trump delivered the “Salute to America” speech at the 2019 Fourth of July celebration at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Following is the full text [verbatim transcript] of that speech.
Donald Trump – President, United States of America
Hello, America. Hello. The First Lady and I wish each and every one of you a Happy Independence Day on this truly historic Fourth of July. Today we come together as one nation. With this very special salute to America. We celebrate our history, our people, and the heroes who proudly defend our flag: the brave men and women of the United States military.
We are pleased to have with us Vice President Mike Pence and his wonderful wife, Karen. We’re also joined by many hard-working members of Congress — Acting Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, and many other members of my Cabinet and also the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joe Dunford. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Lieutenant General Daniel Hokanson of the National Guard, and distinguished leaders representing each branch of the United States armed forces — the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines, and very soon the Space Force. As we gather this evening, in the joy of freedom, we remember that all share a truly extraordinary heritage.
Together, we are part of one of the greatest stories ever told: the story of America. It is the epic tale of a great nation whose people have risked everything for what they know is right, and what they know is true. It is the chronicle of brave citizens who never give up on the dream of a better and brighter future.
And it is the saga of 13 separate colonies that united to form the most just and virtuous Republic ever conceived. On this day, 243 years ago, our founding fathers pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to declare independence and defend our God-given rights.
Thomas Jefferson wrote the words that forever changed the course of humanity.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
With a single sheet of parchment, and 56 signatures, America began the greatest political journey in human history.
But on that day, the patriots who would determine the ultimate success of the struggle were 100 miles away in New York. There the Continental Army prepared to make its stand, commanded by their beloved General, George Washington.
As the delegates debated the Declaration in Philadelphia, Washington’s army watched from Manhattan as a massive British invading fleet loomed dangerously across New York Harbor.
The British had come to crush the Revolution in its infancy. Washington’s message to his troops laid bare the stakes. He wrote:
“The fate of unborn millions will now depend under God on the courage and conduct of this army. We have therefore to resolve to conquer or die.”
Days later, General Washington ordered the Declaration read aloud to the troops. The assembled soldiers just joined an excited crowd running down Broadway. They toppled the statue of King George and melted it into bullets for battle. The faraway King would soon learn a timeless lesson about the people of this majestic land. Americans love our freedom, and no one will ever take it away from us.
That same American spirit that emboldened our founders has kept us strong throughout our history. To this day, that spirit runs through the veins of every American patriot. It lives on in each and every one of you here today. It is the spirit, daring and defiance, excellence and adventure, courage and confidence, loyalty and love that built this country into the most exceptional nation in the history of the world. And our nation is stronger today than it ever was before. It is its strongest now.
That same righteous American spirit forged our glorious Constitution, that rugged American character led the legendary explorers Lewis and Clark on their perilous expedition across an untamed continent. It drove others to journey West and stake out their claim on the wild frontier. Devotion to our founding ideals led American patriots to abolish the evil of slavery, secure civil rights, and expand the blessings of liberty to all Americans.