Military deaths honoured by Fox News host

Fox News commentator Sean Hannity holds up the US flag as he speaks at the studio during Fox Nation. Photo: AFP/Getty Images Sean Hannity, host of Fox News’ prime-time Hannity show, has honoured the…

Military deaths honoured by Fox News host

Fox News commentator Sean Hannity holds up the US flag as he speaks at the studio during Fox Nation. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Sean Hannity, host of Fox News’ prime-time Hannity show, has honoured the 13 US servicemembers who died in Afghanistan during Fox Nation’s Patriot Awards.

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The Fox News pundit told the audience they had all served with “honour and courage”.

He described each of the fallen servicemen, whom he had met during his years on the air, as “our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines”.

The flag-draped coffins of the 13 fallen US servicemembers were on display during the ceremony.

“Your fallen heroes have not gone home yet,” Mr Hannity said.

Another Fox News host, Laura Ingraham, called the 13 fallen heroes “courageous warriors”.

“You didn’t give them a name,” Mr Hannity said. “You didn’t place them on a birth certificate. What you did give them was a life.”

The event was filmed live for Fox Nation, the network’s streaming subscription service.

On Fox Nation’s website, the show’s producers make a point of stating that 13 US servicemembers died in Afghanistan.

At the beginning of the ceremony, a Fox News reporter named Sierra Lauer introduced the servicemembers.

“Each name we read is a name I’ve come to know intimately,” Ms Lauer said, pausing, “and each name is a name I hold dear.”

US forces in Afghanistan have been battling Islamic State militants in a country they once controlled.

Among the fallen were five Navy SEALs and a South Carolina National Guardsman.

Seven other servicemembers were also killed in Afghanistan last year, while a total of 54 American servicemembers have died in the country since 2002.

The Special Forces commander in Afghanistan is a British officer named Lt Gen Nicholas Houghton.

He has ordered the death penalty against Ahmed Shah Massoud, a veteran commander of a US-backed opposition to the Taliban, who was killed by a suicide bomber in Kabul in September 2011.

Mr Massoud was one of the 20 senior Afghan citizens to be targeted, and the first foreign leader to be killed in the country since its liberation from the Taliban by US and UK forces in 2001.

Since the US invasion, the Taliban has lost control of many towns and bases across Afghanistan, and the total number of fighters is down by more than half compared with its peak in 2009.

Before the event, Fox Nation invited people who have lost loved ones in military conflict to post photos and stories on the show’s website.

One of them, Susie Vaughan, described the pain of losing her husband Jon, a US army pilot who died in 2003 as a result of the attack on the World Trade Center.

Jon Vaughan, who was based in Germany, lost contact with his family during the attack on the twin towers and then-in-charge of his unit, was not accounted for for six days.

After the ceremony, Fox Nation posted a picture on Twitter of the coffins on display in the Fox Nation studio.

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