We heard him say it hundreds of times, as did many of you: "Talent on loan from God." Some of Rush's Limbaugh's detractors liked to claim the statement was haughty. But those of us who knew him recognized the famous signoff to his radio program as humility not ego. Rush was truly an extraordinary talent, a media icon of unprecedented stature. His radio audience of 27 million Americans looked to him not just for guidance and insight but to give voice to their most deeply held convictions and most deeply felt concerns. Every time he sat down behind his golden EIB microphone, Rush said what millions of patriotic Americans thought and felt who had no platform for expressing themselves.
Even though he enjoyed monumental success, Rush was a humble man who readily acknowledged the source of his talent and success. He has now gone home to be with his Creator, Lord and Savior. It's said that the angels sing when a true child of God comes home. We like to think that rather than singing, they are all gathered around listening to Rush expound on the state of our nation; a nation God has blessed above all others, but a nation in which many now take His blessings for granted while refusing to acknowledge their source.
I, Oliver North, worked with Rush on numerous projects. We teamed up to raise money for conservative causes and support heroes in our military, firemen and law enforcement. These are the men and women he admired above all others. Ironically, Rush never seemed to realize that to these American heroes, he was a hero. The author of seven books, Rush helped me become a best-selling author by introducing books I wrote on his radio program. Along the way, we became more than media colleagues, we became soul mates. America has lost its most influential voice for conservative values and we've all lost a dear friend.
If conservatives in America had a guru, it was Rush Limbaugh. Receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom — America's highest civilian honor — was an appropriate and well-deserved capstone to a media career spanning more than three decades. In presenting the award, during the State of the Union address in January 2020, then President Donald Trump thanked Rush for his "decades of tireless devotion to our country." In so doing, the president revealed in just a few words why Rush's program lasted thirty-three years and was broadcast on more than 600 stations: "...tireless devotion to our country."
Unlike some in the media, Rush's radio program wasn't about him; it was about America, the country he loved passionately and unceasingly. Rush understood America is not just a geographical location on a map of the world, but an idea; an idea envisioned by our founders more than 240 years ago. Foundational elements of that idea include individual liberty, limited government, personal responsibility, opportunity and free markets. Few people in the history of our great nation have been more committed to maintaining these ideals of our founders. Fewer still have been more influential in educating millions in these ideals.
Diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer, Rush Limbaugh outlived his physicians' prognosis. But he did not live long enough. At a time when America's history is being rewritten by ideologues who reject our founding principles and values, we could use his steady voice on the Excellence-in-Broadcasting microphone. At a time when politicians on the left are rejecting the economic principles that made America the envy of the world in favor of socialism, we could use Rush's no-nonsense analysis of their nefarious and misguided schemes. Rush spoke unvarnished truth to his audience and it resounded with patriotic Americans who are tired of being condescended to by media elites, Marxist professors and mansion-dwelling dilettantes in Congress and Hollywood.
He gave voice to everyday Americans who do the hard work of keeping our country running, who put their lives on the line every day in fire service and law enforcement, who grow the food we eat, and who do the fighting and dying as soldiers, sailors, airmen, guardsmen and Marines. He spoke for Americans who kneel for God and stand for our flag, who proudly sing our national anthem no matter how off-key they may be, and who want little from government except to be left alone.
Rush knew America emerged as the world's leader in innovation, inventions, technology, manufacturing and charity because of our foundational principles of freedom, opportunity and the American work ethic. This is why he dedicated his professional life to preserving these principles. He was an unabashed believer in American exceptionalism and used every ounce of his substantial influence to preserve the factors that make America exceptional. To Rush, America is both good and great; a status he deemed worth fighting to preserve. America has lost not just a media giant, but an ardent, articulate, unabashed patriot who gave his life fighting for our country. Rest in peace, Rush. You will be missed but not forgotten.
Oliver North is a combat decorated U.S. Marine, No. 1 bestselling author, founder and CEO of Fidelis Publishing, LLC and Fidelis Media, LLC. David Goetsch is a Marine Corps veteran, a professor of business, Christian counselor and author of 26 books.