12 freedom quotes to remind you to be proud to be an American every single day

12 freedom quotes to remind you to be proud to be an American every single day

"You're welcome." -- George Washington

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The Fourth of July is a party holiday, plain and simple.

The difference between singing along to the words "proud to be an American" and actually meaning them is major. Appreciating our freedom and country should be continuously held in high esteem, not only on days where the hotdogs and sparklers remind you to do so.

Something about sitting under exploding fireworks seems to awaken the inner patriot in most of us, though this patriotism should be just as fierce every single day of the year.

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1. "Freedom is the atmosphere in which humanity thrives. Breathe it in." --Richelle E. Goodrich

2. "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains of slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take but as for me; give me liberty or give me death!" --Patrick Henry

3. "In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed. It must be achieved." --Franklin D. Roosevelt

4. "Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed - else like a flower cut from its life- giving roots, it will wither and die." --Dwight Eisenhower

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5. "The greatest revolution in the history of man, past, present, and future, is the revolution of those determined to be free."

6. "Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide." -- Napoleon Bonaparte

7. "I am an American; free born and free bred, where I acknowledge no man as my superior, except for his own worth, or as my inferior, except for his own detriment." --Theodore Roosevelt

8. "Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth." --John F. Kennedy

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9. "America is another name for opportunity." --Ralph Waldo Emerson

10. "Intellectually, I know that America is no better than any other country. Emotionally, I know she is better than every other country." --Sinclair Lewis

11. "We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it." --William Faulkner

12. "Life without liberty is like a body without a spirit." --Kahlil Gibran


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I Visited The "Shameless" Houses And Here's Why You Shouldn't

Glamorizing a less-than-ideal way to live.
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After five hours of driving, hearing the GPS say "Turn right onto South Homan Avenue" was a blessing. My eyes peeled to the side of the road, viciously looking for what I have been driving so long for, when finally, I see it: the house from Shameless.

Shameless is a hit TV show produced by Showtime. It takes place in modern-day Southside, Chicago. The plot, while straying at times, largely revolves around the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. While a majority of the show is filmed offsite in a studio in Los Angeles, many outside scenes are filmed in Southside and the houses of the Gallagher's and side-characters are very much based on real houses.

We walked down the street, stopped in front of the two houses, took pictures and admired seeing the house in real life. It was a surreal experience and I felt out-of-place like I didn't belong there. As we prepared to leave (and see other spots from the show), a man came strolling down on his bicycle and asked how we were doing.

"Great! How are you?"

It fell silent as the man stopped in front of the Gallagher house, opened the gate, parked his bike and entered his home. We left a donation on his front porch, got back to the car and took off.

As we took the drive to downtown Chicago, something didn't sit right with me. While it was exciting to have this experience, I began to feel a sense of guilt or wrongdoing. After discussing it with my friends, I came to a sudden realization: No one should visit the "Gallagher" house.

The plot largely revolves the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. It represents what Southside is like for so many residents. While TV shows always dramatize reality, I realized coming to this house was an exploitation of their conditions. It's entertaining to see Frank's shenanigans on TV, the emotional roller coasters characters endure and the outlandish things they have to do to survive. I didn't come here to help better their conditions, immerse myself in what their reality is or even for the donation I left: I came here for my entertainment.

Southside, Chicago is notoriously dangerous. The thefts, murders and other crimes committed on the show are not a far-fetched fantasy for many of the residents, it's a brutal reality. It's a scary way to live. Besides the Milkovich home, all the houses typically seen by tourists are occupied by homeowners. It's not a corporation or a small museum -- it's their actual property. I don't know how many visitors these homes get per day, week, month or year. Still, these homeowners have to see frequent visitors at any hour of the day, interfering with their lives. In my view, coming to their homes and taking pictures of them is a silent way of glamorizing the cycle of poverty. It's a silent way of saying we find joy in their almost unlivable conditions.

The conceit of the show is not the issue. TV shows have a way of romanticizing very negative things all the time. The issue at hand is that several visitors are privileged enough to live in a higher quality of life.

I myself experienced the desire and excitement to see the houses. I came for the experience but left with a lesson. I understand that tourism will continue to the homes of these individuals and I am aware that my grievances may not be shared with everyone -- however, I think it's important to take a step back and think about if this were your life. Would you want hundreds, potentially thousands, of people coming to your house? Would you want people to find entertainment in your lifestyle, good and bad?

I understand the experience, excitement, and fun the trip can be. While I recommend skipping the houses altogether and just head downtown, it's most important to remember to be respectful to those very individuals whose lives have been affected so deeply by Shameless.

Cover Image Credit: itsfilmedthere.com

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