Country music's biggest stage was dressed in red, white and blue and the seats were filled with some of the nation's top patriots for FOX Nation's 2023 Patriot Awards.
The fifth annual award show was held at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tenn., Thursday night, and the event brimmed with pride and patriotism.
Six honorees who have gone above and beyond in the name of patriotism were honored at the event. Here is a look at this year's award recipients:
MOST VALUABLE PATRIOT - TIFFANY JUSTICE & TINA DESCOVICH
Parental rights in education has become a hot topic in politics following the coronavirus pandemic and a motivating issue in elections across local, state and federal levels. As more parents engage public spaces to protect their children, one group that has spearheaded efforts across the nation is Moms for Liberty (M4L), whose founders Tiffany Justice and Tina Descovich were awarded the "Most Valuable Patriot Award."
Rachel Campos-Duffy and Sean Duffy presented the award to Justice and Descovich who proved their dedication to protecting parental rights in America through their work with M4L.
"We are accepting this on behalf of over 130,000 moms and dads across America, and to our moms in just under three years, over 300 chapters, 48 states, we know you are working to unify, educate and empower parents to defend their parental rights at all levels of government," Justice said after receiving the award Thursday.
"We are joyful warriors. Our children are being taught to hate each other in school. There is no future for America with that type of hate, so we are going to fight like hell with a smile on our faces because our children are watching us, and it is a privilege to fight for this country."
Moms for Liberty was founded two years ago amid the coronavirus pandemic as a "social-welfare" nonprofit group, which means it can engage in political and policy activity without disclosing its donors. The group says its mission is to protect parental rights in education, which they describe as "God-given and fundamental."
"Once we let the government get in between us and our children, our families are done. Our country is at risk. This is the line in the sand. Moms for Liberty, moms across the country have drawn that line because we do not co-parent with the government," Descovich added.
BACK THE BLUE AWARD - JAMES PATTERSON
Bestselling author James Patterson was awarded the "Back the Blue Award" for his dedication to defending men and women in law enforcement and sharing their stories that otherwise go unheard.
FOX News contributor Tyrus and "CrimeCam 24/7" Sean "Sticks" Larkin presented the award to the "Walk the Blue Line" author.
"Walk the Blue Line" is a collection of honest and heartfelt stories by real police officers revealing what it's like to wear the uniform. Patterson, however, has written about crime and law enforcement for years.
"I've been writing about the police for years. From Alex Cross to the nonfiction ‘Walk the Blue Line,’ what I've heard from officers over and over is thanks for telling our side of the story. Part of that story is that there's no such thing as a routine call for help. There are no routine car stops. Every call can be a matter of life and death," Patterson said after accepting his award.
The "Alex Cross" author emphasized the importance of backing the men and women in blue.
"We need to back our men and women in blue. If we don't, we could end up with a country of cities overrun by criminals, and it's kind of happening already. We need to make sure our police are supported by this rule of law. Bad guys: You do the crime, you do the time," he added.
"I'm proud to be up here standing in for all these officers and to be honoring our police tonight. Go blue."
SALUTE TO SERVICE - WORLD WAR II VETERAN ANDY NEGRA
Nearly eight decades ago, Allied soldiers stormed the beaches of Normandy and marked the beginning of the end of World War II. Veteran Andy Negra was one of the men in the momentous battle, and was honored with the "Salute to Service Patriot Award."
Award-winning actor Dennis Quaid and FOX News' Johnny "Joey" Jones presented Negra with the custom trophy crafted by third-generation carpenter Tony Siravo.
"I represent all of the World War II veterans that are still alive, and for the other veterans out of the other wars, let me assure you, I represent you, too. That's the Iraq and all the rest of them," Negra said upon receiving his award.
"I graduated high school. Two weeks later, I was heading for Fort Bragg, N.C., and after that, it was history. I learned real quick what service to the country meant. I learned new jobs I never knew work. I learned how to rely on my friends. I relied on everything around me to protect me."
The 99-year-old commemorated the 79th anniversary of D-Day this past June at the beaches in Normandy along with more than 40 other veterans. Negra told AP he is the last member of the 128th Armored Field Artillery still living.
"[The world is] a mess. I never thought that we fought so hard during World War II to find the country in a condition that it is today, but let me assure you, let me assure all of you — every time this country ever got into a problem, they solved it, so regardless of what's going on now, we will break this badness and get back to the good," he said.
YOUNG PATRIOT - PRESTON SHARP
In 2015, a 12-year-old Preston Sharp was first inspired to serve and honor America's veterans. After visiting his grandfather's grave, he was shocked by the lack of flags and flowers placed at the graves of other veterans and decided to take matters into his own hands.
Sharp's commitment to America's veterans earned him the "Young Patriot Award," presented by FOX News' Harris Faulkner and Will Cain.
"[This award] is to bring awareness to our veterans, to remind them that they matter, that we do care, and that they will always be remembered," Sharp said.
Since 2015, Sharp's nonprofit Veterans Flags and Flowers has expanded and grown beyond ensuring a veteran is honored in death.
FOX WEATHER AWARD FOR COURAGE - TRACY HARDEN
While winds gushed and sirens blared warnings throughout the area, a quick-thinking restaurant owner in Mississippi saved herself and eight others by sheltering in the dairy cooler.
As an EF-4 tornado tore the building down around her, Tracy Harden managed to save lives in her community despite the danger around her. Co-hosts of "The Five" along with FOX Weather's Janice Dean awarded Harden the "Courage Award" for her heroic actions.
"I know that night there was a much higher power holding me steady, allowing me to push through. For that, I'm grateful," Harden said, holding back tears.
The catastrophic tornado tore apart the Rolling Fork, Miss., business Harden and her husband worked to build for 16 years.
Twenty-five people were killed in Mississippi and one in Alabama by several tornadoes in March 2023. Harden's actions saved her own and eight other souls.
"I want to accept this award in memory of the 14 lives, 14 friends we lost during the tornado," she added.
"Not for myself, but for my community. We are Rolling Fork strong, we are Rolling Fork rising, and I am so proud."
T2T STEPHEN SILLER AWARD - NASHVILLE POLICE
"FOX & Friends" co-hosts Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt, Brian Kilmeade and Lawrence Jones were joined by Frank Siller to present the first-ever T2T Stephen Siller award. The award is named in honor of firefighter Stephen Siller, who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Frank was joined by his nephew, Stephen Siller, in presenting the award to the Nashville police. Stephen Siller was only a baby when his father rushed to the scene at the Twin Towers over 20 years ago.
While there are countless stories of law enforcement going above and beyond in the line of duty, police earlier this year rushed toward gunshots after an active shooter opened fire on a church-run school in Nashville, Tenn.
Five law enforcement officers from Nashville were awarded the "T2T Stephen Siller Award" for their response to the Covenant School Shooting in March.
"That decision was — it wasn't a decision. It was what was going to happen," Det. Sgt. Jeff Mathes said on behalf of the other officers.
Police responded after shooter Audrey Elizabeth Hale began shooting at students and teachers at the Covenant School early on March 27. The killer gunned down three 9-year-olds and three adults and left a community reeling in the aftermath of the massacre.
Law enforcement saved countless lives after rushing into the line of fire, and before 10:30 a.m. had fatally shot the killer on the second floor of the school building.
"I've been thinking about what the term or the word patriot means since I found out about this, and the only thing, I can't think of a definition, but I can think of people from times all the way across our history as a nation," Mathes continued.
"On behalf of the Metro Nashville Police Department, there are patriots that I'll accept this for, but patriots like our friend and detective on our team, Eric Wegner. He ran outside and was the stimulus of getting shot. He got shot at, and that's what we needed to find what we needed and the work that we needed to do. So being a patriot is going for others, respecting each other, respecting your country and most importantly, putting your God first."
The five Nashville police were honored further and memorialized in a portrait by American painter Steve Penley.
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FOX News' Paul Steinhauser and Michael Rutz and FOX Weather's Hillary Andrews and Katie Byrne contributed to this report.