Pete Hegseth feels that Fox Nation’s Patriot Awards are “real awards for real heroes” and Hollywood celebrities can learn from the Americans who will be honored when the virtual event hits the streaming service on Friday night.
“It’s not fake congratulatory awards to people playing fake people on TV. It’s the opposite of a Hollywood awards show, where actors give awards to each other while giving overtly anti-American speeches,” Hegseth, who will serve as master of ceremonies, said. “This is, quite literally, the most patriotic awards show in America.”
The second annual Patriot Awards will put an emphasis on America’s heroes who have shown a steadfast dedication to their country, with hardware being handed out for the following categories: 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.
“We find those stories that you may not know about, those first responders, those military unsung heroes, those valuable patriots, the stories that maybe never caught the headlines but should have,” Hegseth said. “You are gonna cheer, you’re gonna laugh and you’re gonna cry, but you’re going to be reminded of why America is such an exceptional place and why we should take more time highlighting the everyday people make it such a great place and keep it free.”
Hegseth feels that “what you celebrate is a reflection of what you value” and Americans don’t spend enough time celebrating patriots such as first responders, law enforcement and other heroes.
“Through the Patriot Awards, the idea is that by celebrating it, we’re reminding people how much we should value it,” Hegseth said.
In November 2019, Fox Nation presented its inaugural Patriot Awards ceremony live from the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, Fla ., where the sold-out event raised over $50,000 for Folds of Honor, a nonprofit organization that provides scholarships to children and spouses of fallen and disabled service members.
During the 2020 edition, Fox Nation will accept donations to Answer the Call, a charity organization that provides immediate financial support to families of fallen first responders.
The coronavirus pandemic shifted the second annual Patriot Awards to a virtual event, but Hegseth feels patriotism is as important as ever. He said “patriotism is under attack” in our polarized nation, and he doesn’t want patriotism to be political but rather a baseline for Americans to feel fortunate to live in this country.
“The very idea of America being a good place is under attack,” he said. “I think, for so many years, what tethered us together was, sure we will have differences on the margins, we might have different economic philosophies or political philosophies or ideas about the size of the government, but at the end of the day we believed that this country, while not perfect, is the best beacon of hope we have and our job is to make it better. We’re living in a moment where certain people are saying, ‘Let’s tear down the statues, let’s not stand for our anthem, let’s define our founding only by its problems.’”
Hegseth urged people to come together for the sake of America.
“We can have our political battles about how to make it better, but we have to start by agreeing that even with the sins and mistakes, we are so lucky and blessed to have it,” he said.
The second annual Patriot Awards will also feature Clint Black, Easton Corbin, Jessie James Decker, Phil Vassar, Tyler Farr, Thompson Square, Natalie Grant performing the national anthem, while John Rich will perform “Earth to God” honoring first responders and Lee Greenwood will perform “God Bless the U.S.A.”
Dubbed the "Golden Globes of conservative media" in 2019, the event will once again feature Fox News and Fox Nation's top personalities, including prime-time hosts Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham; "Fox & Friends" co-hosts Ainsley Earhardt, Brian Kilmeade and Steve Doocy; "The Daily Briefing" host Dana Perino; "Moms" host Rachel Campos-Duffy; "PARK’D" host Abby Hornacek; and The Pursuit’s John Rich, as well as FNC contributors Johnny Joey Jones, Dan Bongino, Tammy Bruce and Tomi Lahren.
Hegseth, who co-hosts “Fox & Friends Weekend,” feels the Patriot Awards will offer something for viewers on both ends of the political spectrum as the “fumes of freedom” and “people doing great things around us” will triumph for the evening.
“When you meet the honorees, people who have been chosen, you’re meeting a really interesting, diverse group of people that don’t check any one set of boxes. We don’t know if they’re Republicans or Democrats… we don’t care what their politics are,” he said. “The stories tell themselves and they’re totally nonpolitical. I think they will spark, in your heart, a reminder that whatever our political differences are… it sounds cliché but it’s true, we are Americans who are blessed to live in this country.”
Anticipating a large online audience this year, the streaming service pledged to donate $5 to Answer the Call for every new subscription order from Nov. 13 through Nov. 22.
The Patriot Awards -- sponsored by SERVPRO – are set to take place virtually on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020, at 8 p.m. ET, live on Fox Nation with an encore presentation on Fox News Channel and FOX Business Network on Sunday, Nov. 22.
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Fox News’ Yael Halon contributed to this report.