Filled with fireworks, barbecues and red, white and blue, the Fourth of July is an iconic display of American patriotism and spirit. However, our current political climate has many reflecting on how they perceive their country during this tense moment in history. In the days leading up to the Fourth of July, we asked people if they were proud to be an American.

It's hard to feel hope that we as a country are going to move forward in terms of race, gender and sexuality, and the way we think about equality for all Americans, and at the same time be proud to be an American.

-Rebecca Kelley, a resident of Chelsea, says that being an American is complicated, but it’s a beautiful mess of a country.

Hear At The Library | Rebecca

For me, this is the worst moment that we've had politically in the country. It seems worse because we're not living up to our values.

-Paul Madden and Brendan Geary, a retired Principal and his grandson, say that selflessness and taking care of others are important American values.

Hear At The Library | Paul and Brendan

Really one of the biggest things that would make me more proud to be an American would be changing our stance towards immigrants. ... I think our attitude towards immigrants is the biggest reflection of how strongly we still believe in our founding ideals.

-Sam Bartlett, a Dorchester resident, says that laws protecting fundamental human rights and the civil rights movement are aspects of America of which he is most proud.

Hear At The Library | Sam

Right now, I don't embrace this America. There's too much ugliness and hate and idiocy. ... But I don't regret it. This is where my life is.

-Marie Ellmann, who gave up her French citizenship to become an American, expresses her frustration in today's American politics.

Hear At The Library | Marie

Two years is not enough time to change my definition of what it is to be an American. I think it's kind of based on something that's longer lasting.

-Neerav Dharia, a medical student who lives in the South End, points out that the fact that we can be so openly divisive is a testament to freedom of speech.

Hear At The Library | Neerav