9 Patriotic Photos That Will Make You Proud To Be An American, Because We Have A Lot To Take Pride In

It's been 14 years since the Sept. 11 attacks, and it's difficult to not remember the pain and fear of the day — but it's also important to acknowledge the advances our country has made since then, and all the people, stories, and photos that make us proud to be Americans. We've emerged from the shadow of one of our darkest days, and we've persevered. America is far from perfect, but we're a nation that keeps trying. 

The Fourth of July might allow us to celebrate our unabashed love of country, but Sept. 11 is a day for remembrance, and solemnly thanking the men and women who have helped our nation go forward. On Sept. 11 we will always look back at what we lost, but it's important that we don't lose sight of what we've gained as well. Following the attacks, our country swelled with an unparalleled level of patriotism, and the anniversary reminds us of that. 

The past 14 years haven't been easy — we've lost a lot, but we're still standing. We've continued to move forward. And, although it's a solemn day, it's okay to celebrate our successes, and remember what it is exactly that makes us proud of our country.

Our Traditions

Sometimes there's just something incredibly beautiful about the American flag, especially on the Fourth of July. The flag is one of those truly American traditions, and whether you're saluting it or flying it, it's the epitome of America.

Our Presidents

Politics aside, any person elected as the president of the United States deserves respect. And the sight of all our current living presidents together in one room is truly a remarkable thing.

Our Strength Of Community

Following the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, the citizens of Boston showed the rest of the world how to be strong in the face of tragedy. This photo of two police officers saluting a Boston Strong flag is a testament to how the city — and country — came together.

Our Icons

Aside from being truly beautiful, the Capitol Building is the physical embodiment of American ideals: freedom, justice, and equality. 

Our Successes

There is no picture that better captures the spirit of American triumph than the moon landing. It was the pinnacle of a new American era and one of our greatest achievements, one every American can be proud of.

Our Victories

This past summer, America was reminded that love can win. The sight of the White House lit up in rainbow lights to celebrate the Supreme Court's marriage equality decision is almost enough to make you cry with pride.

Our Heroes

The Vietnam memorial is one of the most beautiful and touching war memorials we have. And it's a permanent tribute to just some of the many Americans who have given their lives over the course of our history.

Our Struggles

The image of former President George W. Bush standing on a pile of rubble with a bull horn is one of the most memorable images to come out of the Sept. 11 attacks. We've remembered this image because it's the moment that America began to rally and come together for comfort and strength.

Our Legacies

It took a while to get used to an image of New York that didn't have the Twin Towers in it. But photos of the two impressive feats of architecture can't help but make you pause. Even though they're gone now, they still make you proud.

American pride is more than fireworks and barbecues, and sometimes it's the unexpected things that fill you with love of country. Despite its flaws, America is a beautiful country full of dedicated, awe-inspiring people. We should remember them and celebrate them, especially today.

Images: The White House Archives; Jordi Gomara Perez, ehpien, The National Guard, jnn1776, KP Trapathi/ Flickr

Must Reads