Former President George W. Bush expressed his gratitude and support for America's veterans just ahead of Veterans Day this weekend during his annual Warrior Ride from the Bush family's Crawford ranch.
"Veterans Day is important," said Bush on Friday, Nov. 10, during the ninth annual ride for American heroes across 43 miles.
"I try to symbolize that by hanging out with veterans," he said. "And riding mountain bikes with veterans is really fun, and really thrilling. And they're good people."
Fox News was on hand for the event and spoke to the president about the ride, his work with veterans and the state of our nation right now. He also shared his personal beliefs about how to handle some of the darkest times of adversity and challenge (see the video at the top of this article).
"These men and women have been injured," he said of many of the veterans who took part in the bike ride on Friday, "and rather than sitting around and feeling sorry for themselves, they decided, in this case, to use mountain biking as a way to recover."
The former president added, "And so it's not only helping them to recover physically, it's helping them to recover psychologically. When you ride mountain bikes on trails like we did today, you can't help but feel wonderful about nature, and feel fortunate — in my case — to stay upright," added Bush in a lighter moment.
"And in your case, to stay upright" as well, he added to this reporter.
Speaking of the state of the world right now, and acknowledging that things are in a dark place given the events in the Middle East as well as the Russia-Ukraine war, Bush said, "I think if everybody would give each other a hug instead of yelling at each other, the world would be a lot better off."
He continued, "That's not going to happen — but each of us can do our own part."
And "I try to do my part," he said, "by being a welcoming person. I don't really care what somebody's politics are around here. I just want them to enjoy the outdoors and get exercise — and to honor our veterans."
And "at the Bush Center, in Dallas, that's exactly what we do," he said. "We spend a lot of time and effort on helping veterans."
He noted how important it is to help veterans transition back into civilian life after their military service of behalf of our nation.
"It's peer-to-peer counseling" that's so critical, he said, speaking about Bush Center programs.
"At the Bush Center we help steer them … to programs that are effective. My dream, of course, is that every vet who's living in darkness can figure out how to come and live in the light, and figure out how to utilize their full potential," said the former president.
"If a veteran seeks help, somebody will help them," he added, commenting on the importance of people coming forward and asking for assistance.
As the Bush Center's website makes clear, veterans, service members, families, caregivers and survivors who are "experiencing difficulties in daily life or in distress can reach out to Check-In and trust that an advocate will find a licensed mental and brain health professional who can help."
Bush also said, referencing challenges at home as well as all around the globe, "My advice is to stay positive because if you study world history or U.S. history, we go through cycles of being down," the 43rd president told Fox News on Friday.
"And yet, Americans ought to realize how blessed we are to live in this country. And yeah, the images are grim — and yes, there's violence. But ultimately, love overcomes hate."
For more, watch the video at the top of this article.