Oliver North

Note: The U.S. military has always stood in harm’s way, protecting American liberties and keeping us safe. The soldiers are the true heroes and our source of strength. The following feature article by Col. Oliver North was published in the July issue of Townhall Magazine. Click here to receive Townhall Magazine every month.

American pop culture has skewed the public’s view of what makes a hero in today’s world and what types of behavior make a person worthy of our attention and accolades. Those who contribute to the greatness of our country are largely ignored by the media who worship the cult of celebrity.

Most Americans are familiar with the latest celebrity scandal; they can recite the particulars of the latest Hollywood divorce and Rattle off a list of “American Idol” winners. They know who set the new home run record or led his team to a Super Bowl victory. But if asked to name any Medal of Honor recipient from Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom, most Americans likely could not answer Paul Smith, Jason Dunham, Michael Murphy or Michael Monsoor.

The problem, of course, is not really with “most Americans,” but with the masters of the so-called mainstream media—those who decide what is and isn’t “news” for the rest of us. In this celebrity-driven, info-entertainment age, both television and print media elites devote far more broadcast time and column inches to the foibles of the famous than on those who serve our nation in uniform.

Those who give us our “news” are much more likely to define a hero” as a record-setting athlete, a “daring” politician or even a cartoon character wearing a spandex suit and a cape. In the midst of a war against a brutal enemy, that’s not just a shame—it’s dangerous. Yet, as I have traveled our country signing copies of my new best seller, “American Heroes,” I find that it is pervasive, despite the fact that we’re celebrating the 232nd anniversary of our Independence.

A true hero is a person who puts himself at risk for the benefit of another. My heroes wear flak jackets, helmets, flight suits and combat boots—and they serve our country in ways that quite frankly aren’t recognized enough by our countrymen.

Know the Enemy

To understand the heroism of those who serve in our military, consider the danger that confronts those who serve on the front lines.

Oliver North

Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.