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Did Obama Tell College Students Not to Celebrate the Fourth of July? No.


As posted on Facebook, July 3, 2013:
Obama to College Students: Do Not Celebrate Fourth of July

Netlore Archive: Viral article quotes President Obama supposedly telling Congressional summer interns not to celebrate the Fourth of July.

Via Facebook

Description: Viral quote / Satire
Circulating since: July 2013
Status: False (see details below)

See also: Did Obama Complain About Missing Golf on the 4th of July?

As posted on Facebook, July 3, 2013:

Obama Speaks to Congressional Summer Interns
Obama to College Students: Do Not Celebrate Fourth of July
July 2, 2013 By The Liberty Paper

As the country prepares to celebrate its independence from Great Britain President Obama had a completely different message for a group of Congressional Summer interns in Washington:

"America is a great country. There is no denying this. However, I caution you all as you step forward in your careers. Peer back into history and ask yourselves- Was a revolution truly necessary? Great Britain may not have had it completely right, but they had many things right. Take taxes for example. If your neighbor makes $1 Million a year, but you and your family can barely keep the heat on should he not help your family? God instructs us to help our neighbors. He does not instruct us to look down upon them though the windows of capitalism.

Why then on the Fourth of July should you celebrate such a radical break from what is Godly and just? No doubt there are many voices warning you of the harm of big government. They are wrong. Government can provide you with what family and friends cannot. If this is gone what will you have?"

Many in the crowd seemed uneasy, and desperate for some sort of clarification. Julie Barks, an intern from Louisiana State University, asked President Obama, "Are you saying we should not celebrate the birth of our country?"

President Obama responded, "I believe we should celebrate where we are going. Celebrate moving forward. Not where we have been."

Analysis: Pure fiction. President Obama never said the words attributed to him above. The original article in which they appeared, published July 2, 2013 on a site called The Liberty Paper, was clearly labeled "POLITICAL SATIRE." Unfortunately, most people who copied and pasted the piece onto their blogs, websites, and Facebook pages did not see fit to include the disclaimer — par for the course in this age of crowdsourced disinformation.

Far from urging Americans not to look back or celebrate the birth of their country, in his July 4, 2013 address President Obama made much of remembering "what happened 237 years ago, and what it meant to the world." He said:

On July 4th, 1776, a small band of patriots declared that we were a people created equal – free to think and worship and live as we 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.

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. 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.

They fought a revolution. Few would have bet on our side to win. But for the first of many times to come, America proved the doubters wrong.

And now, 237 years later, the United States – this improbable nation – is the greatest in the world. A land of liberty and opportunity. A global defender of peace and freedom. A beacon of hope to people everywhere who cherish those ideals.

Generations of Americans made our country what it is today – farmers and teachers, engineers and laborers, entrepreneurs and elected leaders – people from all walks of life, from all parts of the world, all pulling in the same direction.

And now we, the people, must make their task our own – to live up to the words of that Declaration of Independence, and secure liberty and opportunity for our own children, and for future generations.

I want to say a special word of thanks to the men and women of our military, who have played such a vital role in the story of our nation. You have defended us at home and abroad. And you have fought on our nation’s behalf to make the world a better, safer place. People in scattered corners of the world are living in peace today, free to write their own futures, because of you. We are grateful for your service and your sacrifice, especially those still serving in harm’s way and your families here at home.

So, God bless you all. And may God bless the United States of America.

~ President Barack Obama, July 4, 2013

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Sources and further reading:

Obama to College Students: Do Not Celebrate Fourth of July
The Liberty Paper, 2 July 2013

Rumor Check: Obama Told Congressional Interns Not to Celebrate the 4th of July?
TheBlaze.com, 3 July 2013

Last updated 07/04/13

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