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What's the moment you were proudest to be an American?

That's what ex-military members of the Fox News family were asked this Fourth of July Weekend.

See powerful stories from Pete Hegseth, Lea Gabrielle and others below, and share your pride by using #ProudAmerican on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Pete Hegseth said that when he was a young child, the Memorial Day parade in his small Minnesota town woke him up to true patriotism.

“It all comes back to the families and the faith and the communities that we serve for,” Hegseth said. “Because in America, you don’t fight because you hate what’s in front of you. You fight because you love what’s behind you.”

Rob O’Neill said that he was deployed in Europe with SEAL Team 2 when the 9/11 terror attacks happened.

When he returned to the U.S., he was struck by how many homes and businesses were proudly flying the American flag.

“That’s when I realized that I’m going to reenlist and fight for this country.”

Captain Chuck Nash reminisced about a time when he and fellow Navy aviators were on a port visit in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

A man approached them at a restaurant and pointed out into the bay at the USS Forrestal, asking if they were stationed on the aircraft carrier.

When they said yes, the man offered to buy them dinner to say thank you for their service.

“We were humbled by the fact somebody actually appreciated what we were all about, what we were doing and had that kind of love of country.”

Gen. Jack Keane said that he was most proud to be an American the day after the 9/11 attacks when he returned to work at the Pentagon.

He said that he saw all the Pentagon employees’ overwhelming determination, despite their grief, sadness and fear.

“When I saw that that workforce was present for duty, in total, it was overwhelming for me,” Keane said. “I said to myself, ‘They’re all here. My God, they’re all here.’”

Maj. Gen. Robert Scales, Jr. shared the powerful story of his close friend from West Point Mike Snell, who died in Vietnam in 1969.

“I realized as I held him in my arms that Mike and I shared a bond in both life and death that no one will ever understand who hasn’t lived it.”

Lea Gabrielle said that as she was preparing to deploy to Afghanistan in 2008, she had a powerful moment with her father.

"I walked up to the security line and I turned around just to glance at him, just to give him a wave goodbye, not even expecting him to still be there," Gabrielle said. "And my dad was standing there saluting me."

"My hero, standing there saluting me."

Lt. Col. Ralph Peters said he was struck on a visit to Dachau concentration camp memorial site in Germany.

He said that as he was looking at black and white photographs of the liberation of the camp in 1945, he saw U.S. soldiers raising the American flag.

“I looked at those photos and thought, ‘God, that’s who we are. Americans. That’s what we do.’”

Lt. Col. Allen West reflected on becoming the first military officer in his family.

"To meet that expectation, to achieve that goal, it was a great day. Not for me, but for our family."

Watch the the #ProudAmerican reflections above, and share your pride by using #ProudAmerican on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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