Former president George W. Bush completed biking with 19 veterans in the Bush Center’s Warrior 100k Ride.
The three-day event gave wounded veterans a chance to prove just how tough they were, and it also was held in honor of all US soldiers who lost their lives in the war on terror.
The grueling ride took the 19 wounded veterans and their former Commander-in-Chief through the mountainous trails of the Palo Duro Canyon State Park in Texas. The old injuries sustained by each of the warriors forced all of the bikers to move at their own pace, but Bush would frequently stop to let others catch up, saying, “We’re going to ride it in together.”
This statement exemplified the spirit of teamwork and camaraderie that flowed throughout the entire event. After conquering a particularly steep hill, many veterans would get off their bike and walk to the bottom to help push their fellow veterans — some of whom were riding with prosthetic legs — up the hillside.
While the morale of these veterans was undoubtedly enhanced by the presence and encouragement of George W. Bush, they weren’t the only people affected during the ride. The former president was equally moved. He said, “I’m incredibly proud that they were willing to serve, that they were courageous in service and that when wounded, they did not let that overwhelm then.” Bush may have once been their military superior, but during the ride he truly acted as their equal. At one point, Bush personally removed cactus thorns from the backside of a soldier who had fallen off of his bike and onto one of the thorny plants.
Each of the soldiers was bearing their own individual wounds during the race, but all of them finished the event together.