Photo(s) of the Day

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“What I’m concerned about is that Americans forget the sacrifice. I don’t think they are right now, but one of my objectives is to make sure they never do.”
-Former President George W. Bush

The inaugural Warrior Open golf tournament, presented by the George W. Bush Presidential Center, was held at Las Colinas Country Club Oct.10-11, 2011. Photo by Eric Draper

President Bush talks with warrior Dale Beatty and his son Lucas, who was also his caddy, during the practice round of the Warrior Open, Sunday, October 9, 2011. Photo by Grant Miller.

President Bush played a few holes during the practice round with warrior Dan Nevins on Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011. Photo by Eric Draper — at Las Colinas Country Club.

President Bush will host the Warrior Open golf tournament in Dallas, Texas October 10-11. To learn more and to apply, visit Photo by Grant Miller

President Bush and Dan Nevins walk to the next hole during the practice round of the Bush Center inaugural Warrior Open Golf Tournament, Las Colinas Country Club, Irving, Texas, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011. Photo by Eric Draper

President Bush celebrates a warrior's putt during the practice round of the inaugural Warrior Open Golf Tournament on Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011. Photo by Eric Draper



the former commander-in-chief tells The Associated Press there’s one aspect of his presidency he still misses: interaction with U.S. troops. And Bush, who sent them to wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, says that despite his desire to remain largely out of the public eye, he wants to make sure veterans and military members know they still have his support.

“I was a little concerned that our veterans don’t think that I still respect them and care for them a lot,” Bush told the AP. He added later, “There’s nothing as courageous in my judgment as someone who had a leg blown off in combat overcoming the difficulties.”

Bush is hosting next week’s Warrior Open golf tournament in suburban Dallas, an event featuring members of the U.S. Armed Forces wounded while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, including those who lost limbs and suffered brain injuries. Bush joined more than a dozen wounded military members in the Warrior 100 – a 62-mile mountain bike ride he hosted in West Texas last spring.

These public appearances are the exception to the lifestyle Bush has led in his post-presidency.

After leaving office two years ago, Bush and former first lady Laura Bush bought a house in Dallas and started work on the George W. Bush Presidential Center, slated to open in 2013. He has attended select events relating to the center, as well as a ceremony with President Barack Obama marking the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. But he has largely remained out of the public eye.

Bush said he doesn’t want veterans to mistake his private nature with a lack of appreciation for what they’ve done on the battlefield.

“They hadn’t seen me and they hadn’t seen me with the troops,” he said. “So therefore I am using mountain biking and golf to stay connected with the military, people who served during my presidency.”

Military members and veterans groups have generally held Bush in high regard, despite the nationwide protests and international controversy that grew more fervent as the American death toll grew in Afghanistan and Iraq under his command.


Bush, who since leaving office also has made appearances at events for organizations that benefit troops, said he gets inspiration from meeting members of the military who have overcome serious injuries. He said there’s not much he misses about the presidency, but added he does miss being commander-in-chief because he has “great respect for those men and women who wear the uniform.”

Brian “Ski” Donarski, 43, is among the veterans Bush has invited to the two-day golf tournament that starts Monday. The Army first lieutenant was seriously wounded when a mine blew up in Iraq in 2006 and spent 13 months rehabilitating from a traumatic brain injury, a fracture in his neck, bulged disks in his back and undergoing shoulder surgery.

Though Bush has spent most of the past couple of years out of the limelight, Donarski never doubted the former president’s commitment to the troops.

“I know he didn’t forget us,” he said.

David Hartley, police chief of the small southeast Texas town of Hempstead, also supports Bush, even after losing his 25-year-old son, Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Lee Hartley, in 2008 in Iraq. For the last two years, the chief has organized the Watermelon Run for the Fallen in Hempstead to raise money for organizations that help veterans and their families. Hartley, whose last run drew about 3,500 people, also said he’s never doubted the Republican president’s commitment to the troops.

“The man literally cares for our troops and I have the upmost respect for him,” Hartley said. “Everything he does, he does from his heart.”

Besides interacting with veterans and service members, Bush plans to stay involved in public policy through his already-active institute, which focuses on education reform, global health, human freedom and economic growth.

But, he makes clear, “I don’t miss the fame.” He said he and Laura are content with their life back in Texas, where he served as governor for six years before winning the presidency.

11 Responses to “Photo(s) of the Day”

  1. 4


    I served 1972-74. Bush went AWOL for over a year. But keep carrying water for those born with silver spoons in their mouths, they’ll shove it up your butt whenever they get the chance.

  2. 5


    For all those who thought Bush was evil and couldn’t wait to vote in the disgrace that has sullied our hallowed halls – hope you don’t repeat that mistake next November! GW and Laura were a class act and no one would ever doubt his love of country and our service men and women.

    God bless the Bushes!

  3. 6


    Liberal man. Please elaborate on your experience. Are you a guard or reserve?, then two yrs makes sense. However if you are RA or NG, what did you do so you didn’t get deployed any more than once. If you were active you must have done something wrong to serve only two years. There was a time before the wars started ( e.g desert storm) that men and women enlisted to get the free education, the commissary privileges, the medical et al. However once they were called up to do their job ( soldiers are trained to kill and defend) they didn’t want to serve. Perhaps another sign of entitlement and/ getting something for nothing. There is no free lunch. Just trying to figure out the animosity and why you are misguided ( either that or drunk on that Kool aide)

    Oh yes the only way you would see Barry with wounded soldiers is if he thought it was a good photo op.

  4. 7


    President Bush doing the things for our troops that Obama would never dream of…..Unless it would help get him re-elected then he would all over it…

  5. 8






    Bush went AWOL for over a year. But keep carrying water for those born with silver spoons in their mouths,

    Keep carrying the sewage water for Mary Mapes and Dan Rather:

    the controversy over the Rather/Mapes story has centered almost entirely on one issue: the legitimacy of the documents – a very important issue, indeed. But it turns out that there was another very important issue, one that goes to the very heart of what the story was about – and one that has gone virtually unnoticed. This is it: Mary Mapes knew before she put the story on the air that George W. Bush, the alleged slacker, had in fact volunteered to go to Vietnam.

    Who says? The outside panel CBS brought into to get to the bottom of the so-called “Rathergate” mess says. I recently re-examined the panel’s report after a source, Deep Throat style, told me to “Go to page 130.” When I did, here’s the startling piece of information I found:

    Mapes had information prior to the airing of the September 8 [2004] Segment that President Bush, while in the TexANG [Texas Air National Guard] did volunteer for service in Vietnam but was turned down in favor of more experienced pilots. For example, a flight instructor who served in the TexANG with Lieutenant Bush advised Mapes in 1999 that Lieutenant Bush “did want to go to Vietnam but others went first.” Similarly, several others advised Mapes in 1999, and again in 2004 before September 8, that Lieutenant Bush had volunteered to go to Vietnam but did not have enough flight hours to qualify.

    This information, despite the fact that it has been available since the CBS report came out four years ago, has remained a secret to almost everybody both in and out of the media — one lonely fact in a 234- page report loaded with thousands of facts, and overshadowed by the controversy surrounding the documents.

    I made an online check and discovered that while a few websites noted the CBS finding, the story got no ink (that I could find) on the news pages of any big mainstream paper. I did manage to find two opinion pieces about the CBS mess – one in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the other in the Miami Herald — that briefly, and only in passing, mentioned the “Bush volunteered” angle. But that was it! A check of network newscasts turned up nothing. And when I questioned two journalists with intimate knowledge of the story, both said Mapes never shared her information with them.

    For the record: George W. Bush has always maintained that he joined the National Guard not to avoid service in Vietnam but because he wanted to be a fighter pilot. He has openly acknowledged that he did not want to be drafted and serve in the infantry, and says he signed up for the Guard knowing full well he would have to spend almost two years in flight training and another four years in part-time service.

    It is also true, however, that in his 1968 application to join the Texas Air National Guard Bush was asked if he wanted to go overseas and he checked the box that said “do not volunteer.” But as the Washington Post reported on July 28, 1999: “Bush said in an interview that he did not recall checking the box. Two weeks later, his office provided a statement from a former, state-level Air Guard personnel officer, asserting that since Bush ‘was applying for a specific position with the 147th Fighter Group, it would have been inappropriate for him to have volunteered for an overseas assignment and he probably was so advised by the military personnel clerk assisting him in completing the form.’” He later told the Post: “Had my unit been called up, I’d have gone . . . to Vietnam. I was prepared to go.”

    However the complexities and seeming contradictions are interpreted, if Bush at any point had volunteered to fly combat missions in Vietnam – as the CBS investigation unequivocally states — how then could he have been a slacker? The clear answer is that he could not – unless, of course, he volunteered to go to Vietnam knowing full well he wouldn’t be taken. But if that was the case Mapes would have had an obligation to report both that he volunteered and then produce a credible witness to say it was a sham. She did neither.

    Comment #74

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