The Fourth of July, lest we forget, marks the day in 1776 that the then-British colonies decided enough is enough and adopted the document that, to today, is still an inspirational clarion call to all freedom-loving people: The Declaration of Independence.

Freedom did not come with the mere strike of a pen. A bloody war ensued to make a reality out of  the imperfect union envisioned by those men in the great American city of Philadelphia.

"Freedom is not free," President Barack Obama told U.S. veterans and their families at a special Fourth of July show on the South Lawn.

"It’s paid by all the folks who are here today and all the folks who are around the world," the president said.

"Without you, we could not enjoy the incredible blessings that we do in this greatest country on Earth," Obama said. "Michelle and I, Malia, Sasha -- we could not be more privileged to have gotten to know so many of you, and to know all the sacrifices that you make on our behalf each and every day."

Obama's comments were followed by as spectacular fireworks display on the National Mall.

The talent for the night was Bruno Mars who, with his band, "The Hooligans" posed for a fun group shot during Saturday that the singer posted on Instagram.

On Sunday, he posted again: "What a night."

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FIRST LADY'S DRESS
The fashion-forward First Lady embraced one of the hottest summer trends at the White House shindig: gingham.

"Michelle Obama gets our vote for her red Michael Kors Collection gingham midi dress," the Daily Mail gushed. "This spaghetti strap halter piece is perfect for a good old fashion American picnic."

The dress, now on discount, retails for $658.

John A. Oswald is editor-at-large at Metro and can be found on twitter @nyc_oz.

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