15 Patriotic Quotes that Will Make you Proud to Be an American

With all the fireworks displays and Americana apparel and delicious grilled items to focus on when July 4th rolls around, it's easy to forget what this holiday is really about: patriotism. It's, at its heart, a celebration of the 1776 adoption of the Declaration of Independence, and the founding of a country based on equality, freedom, and opportunity. 

The New York Times recently asked "What Does it Mean to Be American?" and many of us are still figuring it out. For some wisdom on the subject, we turned to some of the great wordsmiths of our country's past and present to help us fully appreciate our heritage and make our country proud. And if these quotes don't make you feel proud to be an American, maybe these photos of dogs in July 4th outfits will?

1. "Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility. For the person who is unwilling to grow up, the person who does not want to carry is own weight, this is a frightening prospect." Eleanor Roosevelt 

2. “In the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.”Barack Obama 

3. "The fact is, with every friendship you make, and every bond of trust you establish, you are shaping the image of America projected to the rest of the world. That is so important. So when you study abroad, you're actually helping to make America stronger." - Michelle Obama

4. "Freedom is never granted. It is earned by each generation… in the face of tyranny, cruelty, oppression, extremism, sometimes there is only one choice. When the world looks to America, America looks to you, and you never let her down." - Hillary Clinton 

5. "America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand." -Harry S. Truman

6. Patriotism can be good or bad. Knee-jerk patriotism can be very bad. I'm patriotic almost to the point of self-consciousness, but I love my country the way I love a friend or a child who I would correct if she was going the wrong way. Who I expect the very best from. - Emmylou Harris

7. “There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.”  - Bill Clinton

8. “Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.”Franklin D. Roosevelt 

9. Unless our conception of patriotism is progressive, it cannot hope to embody the real affection and the real interest of the nation.Jane Addams

10. "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." -Ronald Reagan

11.  "How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!" - Maya Angelou

12. "Laughter is America's most important export."  -Walt Disney

13. "The essence of America — that which really unites us — is not ethnicity, or nationality or religion — it is an idea — and what an idea it is: That you can come from humble circumstances and do great things."  - Condoleezza Rice

14.  I want every child in America to eat a nutritious, delicious, sustainably sourced school lunch for free.Alice Waters

15. The magic of America is that we're a free and open society with a mixed population. Part of our security is our freedom.Madeleine Albright

Image credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

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