Bush Honors Vets

Posted on May 22nd, by John Rhadigan in All. No Comments

This Memorial Day weekend it is important to remember and give thanks for those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom. But don’t forget the Wounded Warriors. They too have suffered in the defense of our nation and the protection of our freedom so please remember them this weekend too.

Seventeen Warriors were honored earlier this month in Crawford, Texas. George W. Bush invited these brave men and women to come to his ranch and participate in a 100 kilometer mountain bike ride. The sixty-eight year old Bush lead the way for all 100k. The W100 is one of his favorite events of the year – a chance for him to interact with the people who had the toughest job during his Presidency.


Happy 82nd birthday Chuck Hartigan: Served US Navy 1951-1955

“After I left the (Texas) Rangers,” Mr Bush said as we stood near a lovely lake on the ranch, “I became something I did not want to be, that is a wartime President. But I vowed to protect the country using all the resources at my disposal. The military knew it, millions volunteered. To be able to serve with them and to be able to help them after my Presidency is the honor of a lifetime.”

That is not just lip service. All you need do is follow the former president to see how much he loves these men and women, to see how much he appreciates them. Or better yet you could just ask the vets. “Most veterans would appreciate this because it is genuine,” said Army Major Christopher Cordova, a Texan who was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. “This event is not for the media, he really cares about the veterans. That would serve as a great example for the rest of the nation.”

“He is awesome!” Said Army Specialist Marco Vasquesz of Austin. “I don’t know what I expected, but he is so down to earth. I mean he is just a regular Joe.  He really does put his pants on one leg at a time. Just like we do.”

I must admit, I am always surprised that Mr. Bush remembers who I am. But he always does. On this morning he greeted me with a man hug and a quick look at our surroundings. There was a cross hewn from rock that served as the backdrop for Jenna’s wedding. There is a new art gallery/studio (the former President took up painting a few years ago). Like the veterans said, he is down to earth and friendly and clings to this association with the military. “What I really miss about being President,” Mr. Bush said, “ I miss saluting our men and women in uniform. It is extraordinary to be able to look in the eyes of people who volunteered in the face of danger.”

Bush says the three-day ride through the hills of his ranch in Crawford is not a race, but a festival of service. Of course an interview with me meant that we would talk some baseball too. The president still watches almost every Rangers game and he is already looking forward to Monday. “I’m glad Josh (Hamilton) is coming back, and the reason why is I believe in redemption. I think he can add some value to the team. I know he’s going to add some excitement and there is nothing better than injecting a little excitement when things aren’t going as well as we all hoped.”

Mr. Bush confided that Josh recently purchased an adjacent ranch there in Crawford. Having spent a day at the former President’s ranch it is easy to see why. The land is picturesque and serene. The lake at the Bush Ranch comes complete with a fishing boat called Bass Force One. This is a perfect place to fish or ride a mountain bike, or talk baseball and thank a veteran.

John Rhadigan

John Rhadigan has called Texas home for nearly 24 years, having spent 11 years at NBC 5 as a sports reporter/anchor and 12 years as an anchor at Fox Sports SW. Rhadigan is the recipient of more than a dozen Emmy Awards for sports reporting and anchoring.

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