Patriotism has had a rough go of it this year. A large number of NFL athletes kneel instead of stand for the national anthem. The Washington Post claims that patriotism is a white thing. The word patriot is taking hits right and left – body blows really – and has become to many in this country a dirty word.
There remains a broad swath of Americans who nonetheless get chills when fireworks go off on July 4th, who reflexively stand when they hear the Star-Spangled Banner or automatically thank a soldier for their service.
If you have even so much as one patriotic bone in your body you are going to want to watch “American Valor: A Salute to Our Heroes,” airing on selected broadcast outlets nationwide this weekend.
Liberty Nation caught up with Jim Roberts, President of the American Veterans Center who produces the event. These are stories of heroism and valor that are sure to inspire any who love America and as the saying goes – for which it stands.
Liberty Nation: Jim, tell LN readers a bit about the event that’s about to air this weekend.
Jim Roberts: The program is being hosted by the British Formal Special Op and current TV star Bear Grylls, and we had 600-plus people attend at the Omni Shoreham for the event that is being picked up for the first time by ABC’s owned and operated station, so we’ll have all the major markets in the country covered by ABC and then many, many smaller markets by ABC and other networks.
Liberty Nation: What is the one American valor story that really touched you this year?
Jim Roberts: That’s a tough one, we have one veteran of Pearl Harbor who’s 104 years old. His story is very inspiring, and just the fact that he’s still so engaged and interested in trying to educate young people at 104 is itself encouraging. Colonel Dick Cole, the only surviving Doolittle Raider, and Jimmy Doolittle’s copilot – and still going strong. He has asked the American Veterans Center to be responsible for preserving the legacy of the Raiders, which is a great honor for us.Lt. Gen. James H. Doolittle (center),
Mike Schlitz, who got the Iraq Award, is a real inspiration. He was burned, over 85% of his body. He lost both arms, his ears, and nose, and just horribly injured, but he’s managed to overcome. He’s got a great sense of humor. He now represents the Gary Sinise Foundation. If I had to pick out just one that we honored that night, probably Mike would stand out as the most inspirational, perhaps.
Liberty Nation: In this year of NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem, you had Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Jefferson. Tell us his story a little bit.
Jim Roberts: Well, a Tuskegee Airmen pilot, Jefferson said, “This is the best damn country in the world, and it’s not perfect, but we’ve made a tremendous amount of progress.” I’m paraphrasing here. When asked his advice for young people today, Mr. Jefferson said, “Get up off your knees and go do something!” I thought that was very, very inspiring.
Liberty Nation: I find it interesting that you guys are out there making an effort to honor these men when our country is at a terrible political crossroads, where we don’t seem to honor or regard the sacrifice of our veterans very highly.
Jim Roberts: Well, I’m a Vietnam veteran, and so I have that perspective. If you take that into account, I think the public’s attitude to our veterans and to our military, in general, is very high today overall. They don’t have much connection with veterans or active duty personnel, so they don’t really know much about the military, but in the abstract or in general, all the polls show this, that the military is way at the top in terms of professions that the public respects. But again, they don’t have much contact with them, and that’s, again, one of the things we’re trying to remedy, is trying to bring the military into more contact with the civilian population, with their fellow citizens.
Tune in to watch American Valor: A Salute to Our Heroes for an inspiring, patriotic evening. You can find your local station and airtime here.