George W. Bush paints, writes book on veterans

9780804189767_p0_v6_s192x300With pen and paint, former President George W. Bush shared the individual stories of 98 U.S. military veterans in his latest book, Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief ’s Tribute to America’s Warriors.

Bush painted 66 portraits, plus a mural, of the veterans — all of whom served after 9/11. Some of these veterans are amputees, and many cope with post-traumatic stress disorder and/or traumatic brain injuries.

Reproductions of the oil paintings along with brief but touching narratives Bush wrote on each veteran are featured in the book, which was released earlier this year.

“I painted these men and women as a way to honor their service to the country and to show my respect for their sacrifice and courage. I hope to draw attention to the challenges some face when they come home and transition to civilian life — and the need for our country to better address them,” Bush wrote in the book’s introduction.

“I wanted to show their determination to recover, lack of self-pity, and desire to continue to serve in new ways as civilians,” he also wrote.

Michael Rodriguez, a U.S. Army Special Forces Green Beret who served from 1992 to 2013, was among the 98 veterans featured in the book.

Bush wrote that Rodriguez represented “ … our military’s might and our nation’s heart.”

“I’m blown away that my former commander in chief would actually take the time to paint those who served under him,” Rodriguez told National Public Radio earlier this year.

“My hope for this, for his book, is that it bridges that civilian-military divide that Americans feel.”

Net proceeds from the book are being donated to the George W. Bush Presidential Center’s Military Service Initiative. The initiative’s focus is on assisting post-9/11 veterans and their families successfully transition to civilian life. The initiative also deals with veteran wellness topics.

One way to buy this book — and make a difference lives of veterans — is to purchase Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief ’s Tribute to America’s Warriors here: with a 10-second sign-on through this special AmazonSmile link, your Amazon purchases will generate a 0.5 percent donation to American Legion Auxiliary Foundation Inc. whenever you shop on Amazon through AmazonSmile! No added cost. No added fee. Just log in to your Amazon account through this link to the ALA.

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