As Americans continue buying hot dogs and sparklers for the Fourth of July, former president George W. Bush reminds us of the price of freedom. This past Wednesday, Bush and CEO of Cigna Corporation, David Cordani, discussed the challenges wounded veterans face. The interview was a part of the Achilles Resilience Relay, a 650-mile relay race for individuals with disabilities. Ever the advocate for our nation’s heroes, the former president has dedicated much of his life after two terms in the Oval Office to raising awareness for the veteran community.
Former President George W. Bush Talks About ‘Invisible Injuries’
Although most people might associate wounded veterans with physical injuries, oftentimes, the emotional and psychological distress they faced during their service is just as debilitating. Paired with transitioning back to civilian life, sometimes the biggest challenge for servicemen is after they’ve come home.
George W. Bush discussed this with David Cordani this Wednesday, applauding veterans for their resilience both during and after their service.
“Demonstrating bravery on the battlefield, they often return home with injuries — both visible and invisible — that intensify the challenges of transitioning to civilian life,” Bush told the Cigna Corporation CEO. “Together, we celebrate an elite group of veterans who, through their perseverance and athletic accomplishments, are teaching us that when we face adversity, we can push our limits of what is possible.”
Beginning in Charlotte, North Carolina, the Achilles Resilience Relay kicked off on June 26. The event will continue its way to Central Park in New York City by July 9. While the relay race celebrates and connects individuals with all kinds of disabilities, the Achilles Freedom Team consists of “wounded, ill or injured members of the U.S. military.”
The heroic team covers 400 miles of the race, from N.C. to Washington D.C.
43rd President Dedicates His Retirement to Wounded Veteran Community
After serving two terms as the nation’s Commander in Chief of the military, George W. Bush continues to honor and support the veteran community throughout his retirement. His appearance with the Achilles Resilience Relay is just one example of the former president’s dedication.
In fact, the relay race isn’t even the only race that Bush attends for veterans. The former president also hosts a 100-kilometer bike race called the Warrior 100k. Last held in 2019, the race occurred in Bush’s home state of Texas. A part of his mission with this race is to race awareness for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a common condition that many wounded veterans have after returning from combat.
“It’s a remarkable experience to hang out with them,” Bush told Fox News.
Outside of his more physically taxing events, Bush also utilizes his creative skills to pay tribute to wounded veterans, as well. In 2017, the former president put brush to canvas to literally paint the picture of American warriors. Portraits of Courage was a collection of sixty-six portraits of post 9/11 military veterans that Bush himself painted. The collection eventually transformed into a book.
“A lot of these vets get stigmatized and they say, ‘I don’t want anybody to know I’m struggling.’ You can’t help a person who is not willing to be helped,” Bush told PEOPLE. “My message is that it’s courageous to talk about your injuries — those you can see and those you can’t see.”