Mike Rowe's Fantastic Veterans Day Tribute: No 'Trigger Words' or 'Safe Space' in the Military


Few salutes are as heartfelt as this.

On a day to celebrate American veterans, when the country offers its gratitude to the men and women who’ve worn the uniform of military service, author and former television host Mike Rowe appeared Monday on Fox News to offer his own praises.

“Is there a greater meritocracy in the world? Is there a better example of true diversity?” he asked on “Fox & Friends,” before a special Veterans Day audience garbed in military uniforms.

“My friends in the military, the thing I’m most proud about, when I go to bases, when I visit with people, they are utterly color-blind. There’s no conversation about, you know, trigger words. There’s no safe space. The military is not a safe space!”

But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t bring out the best, he said.

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Rowe has become a hero to conservatives, thanks to a career that has been devoted to praising the benefits of hard work.

Shows like “Dirty Jobs” on the Discovery Channel and “Somebody’s Got to Do It” on CNN gave viewers a look into hard, gritty professions they might never have even considered, and gave them a new respect for those who did the work.

That career won Rowe a lot of fans, but Rowe often talks about one fan in particular – Travis Mills, a staff sergeant with the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division who became one of the few veterans to survive as a quadruple amputee after being blown apart by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan in 2012.

Rowe has told the moving story of his meeting with Mills before, and on his website, He did it again for Monday’s “Fox & Friends” appearance.

For Rowe, examples like Mills’ are proof that the military can forge a breed of Americans that’s simply separate from a country seemingly crippled sometimes by the new demands of political correctness.

“We’re having this giant social conversation about what the right words are to use and how to properly treat, and that’s terrific,” he told the “Fox & Friends” hosts.

“But in the military, you know, there’s a different set of rules and there’s a different reality. And there’s just a different commonality.

“There’s really nothing new to say. Shakespeare got it right: We few, we few, we happy few. We band of brothers.

“That’s real. And whenever you find a band-of-brothers mentality in the real world, that’s not in the military, it’s exciting. That’s why I loved doing ‘Dirty Jobs.’ The people we profiled on that show, they knew something, by and large, that a big part of our society has either forgotten or become disconnected from.”

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There’s no denying that in a country polarized by politics — where even simple decency can be met by attacks — the kind of unity of purpose Rowe is talking about can seem impossible to attain. And in a free country, there’s no need that it should be. Freedom is freedom to not get along, after all.

Do you think Mike Rowe is right about the military?

But there’s one thing every American should agree on: the reason the country has that freedom is the men and women of the armed forces who’ve stood guard over the centuries to make sure it was never taken away.

As “Fox & Friends” host Steve Doocy asked Rowe, “Where would we be without these men and women who put on the uniform?”

Rowe’s response was as truthful as it was clearly genuine:

“Well, nowhere,” he said. “We’d be nowhere at all.”

It was only five words, but it was a salute that said it all.

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Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro desk editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015.
Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015. Largely a product of Catholic schools, who discovered Ayn Rand in college, Joe is a lifelong newspaperman who learned enough about the trade to be skeptical of every word ever written. He was also lucky enough to have a job that didn't need a printing press to do it.