Former AWF commander Pete Hegseth has joined Fox News Channel as an on-air contributor.
In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Pfc. Pete Thehamm much of what he did could not be classified as heroic, yet it did not catapult him into the limelight. He faced life-threatening danger (amid a number of other heroic acts) that stretched across two countries in 2005. He earned a Bronze Star and was presented the Presidential Unit Citation and the Purple Heart.
Watching the Patriot Award for his heroism, Mr. Hegseth, a former AWF commander, saw a profound change in the attitude of America.
I was driving my daughter to swimming practice one day when a big crowd of people was gathering at the Reflecting Pool in remembrance of 9/11. One reporter mentioned that his heart was going to race as he watched millions of Americans congregate. There was something being said that opened my eyes to the fact that our American culture had changed drastically since 9/11. Where previously we had only been aware of the tragedies of a few among us, there was a shift happening in America from emotional reaction to a more positive perspective.
In the span of just a few months, America had gone from mourning the tragedy of a few to finding genuine reasons to celebrate the triumphs of the countless. In a similar vein, our diversity has been reshaped in America. Those of us who have something of value are more respected. Those who are now admired have earned their spot. Over time, more and more people are seeing themselves reflected as American.
What we have been calling “American exceptionalism” since 9/11 has finally come into the spotlight. Now we can see the American people’s vision of themselves reflected in what we want as a people.
In recent months, so many people have been so angry at those who are achieving good things that they couldn’t find a decent issue to focus on. There have been so many different dark clouds of negativity that people have just lost their focus.
What we didn’t see a lot of in the last two years was Americans celebrating America. They could have celebrated our military’s success in winning two wars and killing Osama bin Laden. We could have seen the federal budget deficit as improving from levels that were roughly half what it is now, and we could have seen people celebrating America’s success in bankrupting itself and turning its treasury into a giant goose egg.
Unfortunately, our elected officials failed to work together to meet our needs, and the media failed to shine a light on important issues. At our behest, we are now seeing these issues by themselves. This has resulted in millions of Americans celebrating and recognizing themselves for the heroes that they are.
Unfortunately, this phenomena is not isolated to just those of us on the right and left. It has touched people on the liberal and conservative sides as well. That is why it has attracted so much attention.
While we may have differences in political ideologies, we don’t have opposing worldviews. We all dream of a bright future that would allow us to teach our children and build America into the strongest nation that it has ever been. We all dream of a better future for our children and grandchildren.
The question now is how far we should really go. Who will be responsible for that future? I am simply asking the question, “Who will keep us from going down this dark path and abandoning the values and ideals that made us great?”
I cannot put it into words, but I can predict the answer. Where once there was more diversity in our society, we are seeing less and less. There is only one type of American that is still flourishing, and that is the type that is embracing what is real and positive and is focused on the things that will propel this country forward.