April 08, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT

Flag waving was the order of the night at CMT’s 2003 Flameworthy Video Music Awards on Monday night. Toby Keith’s ”Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)” won him Video of the Year honors, as well as Male Video of the Year and Cocky Video of the Year. (Hey, why doesn’t sister network MTV have that category in its awards?) Keith was also the cohost of the awards gala, held at Nashville’s Gaylord Entertainment Center, along with country fan Pamela Anderson.

”The night we had tonight vindicates me for the controversy from that song,” Keith told the Associated Press. He dedicated his wins to ”Mr. Rumsfeld and Tommy Franks, and all the people over there [in Iraq] putting it down for us tonight.” His sentiment was echoed by Darryl Worley, performing his anthem ”Have You Forgotten,” and Chris Cagle, who wished the troops ”Godspeed” and a safe return home.

The night’s other big winner was Tim McGraw, who took home Fashion Plate Video of the Year and Hottest Male Video of the Year for ”She’s My Kind of Rain.” Martina McBride’s ”Concrete Angel” won Female Video of the Year and Video Director of the Year for production team Deaton Flanigen. Johnny Cash won a career achievement award (his acclaimed ”Hurt” video was released after this year’s eligibility deadline). The country legend, who was released from a Nashville hospital last week after a bout of pneumonia, was resting at home; wife June Carter Cash accepted the award in his place.

The Dixie Chicks, nominated for three awards, were shut out of the fan-voted honors. (About 3 million fans voted via the Internet, a million more than last year.) Certainly, some of the fans in the auditorium were still riled by Natalie Maines’ recent anti-Bush comment. Southern-born comic Brett Butler, referring to the South is ”a place of sin and redemption and, hopefully, forgiveness,” said to the crowd, ”Maybe in a couple weeks we?ll just all try to forgive the Dixie Chicks, okay?” Some audience members booed, and Butler responded, ”You boo me up in that seat. By the time you get down here to kick my ass, I?ll be gone.” She added, ”Everybody in here?s a good American, so just stop it.”

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