What does being a patriot mean to you?
That was the frequently asked question of the night at the 2021 Patriot Awards ceremony Wednesday as Fox News Digital took to the eager crowds in Hollywood, Florida.
The awards show, heralded by Fox Nation as the sole event in media that honors the true heroes of America, celebrated military veterans, first responders, and other patriots who have proven to exemplify tremendous pride for their country.
But for as proud as the award recipients undoubtedly are, so were the attendees — and one simple question yielded several profound responses.
“Being a patriot means having a sense of community,” ticket-holder Chris Guerra said.
“To be a patriot is to be a defender of freedom, to stand up for what you believe in,” fireman Mark Tasson said.
“Patriotism is about taking responsibility,” attendee Yi Duan said.
A Florida Chief of Police responded to the question by underscoring the significance of America’s history.
“To me, what it means to be a patriot is somebody who has a deep respect and love for your country… somebody who’s willing to stand up and defend the Constitution and believe in the Founding Fathers and what they meant — and make sure that that wonderfully written document never dies, never gets perverted, and always means what the founding fathers intended it to mean.”
Two women in attendance — one from Israel, one from Jordan — used their platform to remind people that America stands out in its treatment of women:
“I am so very grateful for the freedoms I have as a woman, as a human being, as an American citizen – which is the ultimate privilege,” Vanessa L. said, before pointedly remarking that she and a friend in attendance both hail from the Middle East. “We love each other, and we love America.”
They were not alone in their sentiment.
Another attendee, a woman named Danielle Miller, told Fox News Digital that her family are immigrants from Europe and were grateful to “live in the greatest country on the planet.”
“To be a patriot, to be here and to congratulate all the people that made us free today, it’s amazing,” she added.
Attendee Reginald Black cited President John F. Kennedy’s famous quote, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” He added that being a patriot means “doing whatever you can to make the lives of those next to you and around you better.”
“It’s just about what’s best for our country,” his friend, Oliver Long, echoed.
“It’s really cool to get to answer the question, ‘what is a patriot?’ because every person in this nation can be one,” attendee Kimberly Butler said, who proudly sported a dress that read “We Dare Defend Our Rights.”
Fox News Digital spoke with the show’s master of ceremonies, Pete Hegseth, about his thoughts on the word ‘patriot.’
“[It’s] to be grateful for your country, to be grateful for the things that God has given us, for this amazing American experiment that most people in human history have never had an opportunity to experience,” the veteran and Fox News host said. He added that emceeing the Patriot Awards was his favorite assignment of the year.
“We get a chance to govern ourselves. That’s freedom,” he added.
For fans who missed the live stream of the ceremony Wednesday night, catch an airing of the 2021 Fox Nation Patriot Awards Sunday at 10pm ET on Fox News Channel.
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