President visits wounded warriors at Walter Reed

By Bernard S. LittleSeptember 12, 2008

President to Press
President Bush speaks to the press following his visit with Walter Reed patients Sept. 9. Listening from left are Col. John Bradley chief of psychiatry and acting deputy commander for clinical services for the Walter Reed Health Care System; Command... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Sept. 12, 2008) -- President George W. Bush visited patients, Family members and staff at Walter Reed Army Medical Center Tuesday.

Since the start of the Global War on Terrorism in 2001 and the Army's premier medical center receiving wounded warriors, President Bush and first lady Laura Bush have made regular visits to Walter Reed.

"I come to Walter Reed to do a couple of things: first, to pay my respects to those who have been wounded," the president said during remarks to the press following his visit with patients, their Families and staff.

"I've come to pay my respects to the healers and doctors and nurses, and thank them for their service. I can truthfully say that the health care our troops receive here is first-class," he added.

He also thanked Maj. Gen. Carla G. Hawley-Bowland, commander of the North Atlantic Regional Medical Command and WRAMC, for her "hospitality and leadership."

"You energize our staff, as well as the patients and their Families, to get even better," she said. "So thank you very much."

"I've also come to pay my respects to Family members that are praying that their loved one can get back on their feet and serve again, or get back on their feet and live a normal life," the president said.

"It's an interesting experience because, on the one hand, you see the horrors of war; on the other hand, you see the courage of the people that have volunteered to serve. I marvel when I come to Walter Reed. I marvel at the fact that people say to me, 'Mr. President, I'd do it again. And you see somebody in bed who's been severely wounded, and they look and they say, I'm honored and proud to have served.'"

The president then spoke of one servicemember he visited who was wounded severely and being cared for at Walter Reed: "He says, 'I'm looking forward to getting back in uniform, getting back on the front lines.'

"America is lucky to have men and women who volunteer to wear the uniform and to serve to protect us. And, general, we're lucky - and they're lucky - to have health care that can provide for the wounded and provide comfort to those who need the care. So I'm honored to be with you."

(Bernard S. Little serves as the command information officer for Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the Stripe newspaper.)