Fox Nation viewers can tune in to see "Fox & Friends Weekend" staple Pete Hegseth host the second annual Patriot Awards at 8:00 pm ET on Friday. While taking place virtually, the awards show sets to highlight and honor the actions done by military members, first responders, and everyday Americans.
In a time where it seems patriotism for the United States is at an all-time low, Hegseth, an Army veteran, told Townhall during an interview on Friday this awards show also serves as a reminder there is an America still worth fighting for.
"That's what's being litigated right now. Is America good? Should we stand for the anthem? Should we support our cops? Or are we defined by our sins? Are we 1619 or are we 1776? Are we a country simply stolen from Indians and built on the backs of slaves or are we a flawed country that has pursued more equal freedom throughout our process? Compared to the rest of the world, [we're] doing a damn good job," Hegseth said.
"So I do think this show helps to provide perspective to people who A) may have lost their way and have been lied to that America is a bad country, and B) fortify people [whose] basis of their understanding of America is being called into question," he explained. "And on this note, we should all be united, but you see what's happening and, of course, we're not. The Patriot Awards squarely falls into the camp of we love our country, we love our flag, we love our anthem, we appreciate our Constitution and everything that goes into it, we love God and that's okay."
Hegseth said this difference is why typical award shows are "so lame" because it's just "a bunch of actors playing people on TV giving awards to other actors who play people on TV, none of which is actually real...This is the exact opposite. It's real heroes, who never expected to get an award or let alone be recognized, held up on a pedestal for the things they did, big and small, to contribute to our country."
Hegseth saw the hatred for the United States firsthand when riots broke out after the death of George Floyd. Still being a Major in the D.C. National Guard, Hegseth's unit was activated and sent to protect the White Hosue.
"I'll never forget looking in front of us at the massive crowd and then looking behind us at the lit-up White House and saying, 'How'd we get here? I went from Iraq and Afganistan to standing with a shield outside the White House as lawlessness breaks out.'"
Hegseth encouraged those who will be watching to think of someone who could be honored for next year's show.
"The challenge this year was whittling down the amazing stories into the ones you actually give awards to, I mean that is not an easy process and it is was one that went on for months and months," he said, adding while the experience will feel different, viewers will still be "inspired just like last year by the amazing stories that they will see on their screen and remind them what a fundamentally good and patriotic country we have."
Categories for the awards include The Everyday Patriot, Most Valuable Patriot (MVP), Patriot Award for Service to Veterans, Patriot Award for the Unsung Hero, Patriot Award for Courage, The Young Patriot, Patriot Award for Heroism, and The Patriot Award for the Modern Warrior.
While Hegseth will be hosting the show, many of Fox News' top talent will be virtually participating in the event, including Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Ainsley Earhardt, Brian Kilmeade, Steve Doocy, Dana Perino, Rachel Campos-Duffy, Johnny Joey Jones, Dan Bongino, and Tammy Bruce.
In addition to sharing stories from service members through the awards show, Hegseth's new book "Modern Warriors: Real Stories from Real Heroes," which is based on his Fox Nation show "Modern Warriors," will be released next week. The book complies veterans' stories of what they went through during combat and why they chose to serve in the U.S. military.