The Fourth of July is upon us. While most of us consider the day a time for parties, burgers, bottle rockets, and fireworks, it's important to keep its true meaning in mind.

Saint Leo University has a long and proud history of patriotism, most notably by educating thousands of military members and veterans who defend our freedom. To further recognize this day, we offer up the following inspirational quotes related to American independence we are so grateful for in our nation of liberty and justice for all.

"In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved." – President Franklin D. Roosevelt

"A good many elderly people are afflicted with dreadful head-aches on the Fourth of July; but I suspect they don't mind it very much, for in every puff of blue smoke that wreathes itself under their noses, they see a boy's or a girl's happy face." – William H. Rideing

"Those who won our independence believed liberty to be the secret of happiness and courage to be the secret of liberty." – Louis D. Brandeis

"America is much more than a geographical fact. It is a political and moral fact — the first community in which men set out in principle to institutionalize freedom, responsible government, and human equality." – Adlai Stevenson

"We on this continent should never forget that men first crossed the Atlantic not to find soil for their ploughs but to secure liberty for their souls." – Robert J. McCracken

"Liberty is the breath of life to nations." – George Bernard Shaw

"The Declaration of Independence! The interest which in that paper has survived the occasion upon which it was issued; the interest which is of every age and every clime; the interest which quickens with the lapse of years, spreads as it grows old, and brightens as it recedes, is in the principles which it proclaims." –  President John Quincy Adams

"You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.." – Erma Bombeck

"For what avail the plough or sail, or land or life, if freedom fail?" – Ralph Waldo Emerson

"All we have of freedom, all we use or know —
This our fathers bought for us long and long ago." –Rudyard Kipling

"The United States is the only country with a known birthday. All the rest began, they know not when, and grew into power, they know not how.... There is no "Republican," no "Democrat," on the Fourth of July, — all are Americans." – James Gillespie Blaine

"It is the love of country that has lighted and that keeps glowing the holy fire of patriotism." –J. Horace McFarland

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

"In childhood the daylight always fails too soon—except when there are going to be fireworks; and then the sun dawdles intolerably on the threshold like a tedious guest." - Jan Struther

Which of these 14 quotes is your favorite? Tell us in a comment below.