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July 27, 2018

George W. Bush and Laura Bush to receive 2018 Liberty Medal

The 43rd President of the United States, President George W. Bush, and former First Lady Laura Bush will receive The 2018 Liberty Medal on Veterans Day at the National Constitution Center on Nov. 11, 2018.

“The National Constitution Center is honored to award the 30th annual Liberty Medal to President and Mrs. Bush on Veterans Day for their service to veterans,” said Jeffrey Rosen, president and CEO of the National Constitution Center. 

He added, “Their tireless work on behalf of those who serve our country and defend our Constitution is inspiring.”

The medal comes with a $100,000 award, which President and Mrs. Bush will donate to their campaign to endow the work of the George W. Bush Institute and its Military Service Initiative.

The Military Service Initiative is a call to help post-9/11 veterans who have issues transitioning into civilian life. This includes the Warrior Wellness Alliance, which connects veterans to high-quality therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, employment transition, and resources for non-profits for veterans

This includes an alliance with Cohen Veterans Network which runs a therapy clinic in Philadelphia at the University of Pennsylvania. It specializes in effective treatments for PTSD, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and prolonged exposure therapy. 

According to the National Center of PTSD, veterans during operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom see a yearly average of PTSD diagnoses of about 11 to 20 out of every 100 veterans. What’s more, PTSD isn’t just from combat. Twenty-three out of 100 women have reported sexual assault, while 55 out of 100 women and 38 out of 100 men have experienced sexual harassment in the military. The VA notes that due to the fact there are more men than women in the military, more than half of all veterans with military sexual trauma are men. 

The Department of Defense reported nearly 18,000 service members were diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injury in 2017, which decreased from 2015 through 2007, with an overall average of 31,083 service members per year. TBI and PTSD can cause disruptions in life quality, daily functioning, and a veteran’s ability to navigate civilian life. 

The Bush Center page for "Veteran Transition” states, “71% of Americans say they have little understanding of the issues facing post-9/11 veterans, and veterans agree: 84% say that the public has ‘little awareness’ of the issues facing them and their family. We have a duty to understand and serve those who volunteered to wear the uniform in defense of our Nation.”

The Liberty Medal was established in 1988 to commemorate the bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution, and it has been hosted by the National Constitution Center since 2006. The award recognizes individuals who strive to secure liberty to people around the world. Bush’s father, former President George H.W. Bush and former President William J. Clinton were recipients of the award in 2006.

“Our democracy depends upon the embrace of high ideals and civic responsibility, and there’s no finer example of citizenship than our veterans,” said Bush, adding, “Laura and I are honored to dedicate this award from the National Constitution Center to the men and women who have defended and upheld the rights and freedoms enshrined in our Constitution.” 

More information on the Liberty Medal can be found here

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