What George W. Bush misses the most

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Former President George W. Bush said Wednesday he doesn’t miss much about being president — with the exception of riding on Air Force One.

“A lot of people ask me, you know, do I miss much about being president?” Bush said at an event in Dallas. “And the answer is really no.”

But the former president admitted having his own plane was a great perk.

“I mean I miss the people I served with. I miss Air Force One. In eight years they never lost my baggage,” he said to laughter.

{mosads}Bush’s last trip on the presidential aircraft occurred late last fall, when he and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined the Obamas on their flight to Nelson Mandela’s memorial service.

The former president made the comments at a summit hosted by his presidential library aimed at coordinating support for veterans who served after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

In addition to his colleagues and the presidential plane, Bush said he missed saluting members of the military, noting he has not stopped since leaving the White House.

“I do miss saluting men and women who volunteered to defend our nation during war,” he said. “Many are coming home and are preparing for new missions as civilians, and I intend to salute these men and women for the rest of my life.” 

Bush gave a shout-out to first lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden for their work in support of veterans. Biden attended the summit and spoke as well. 

During his speech, Bush talked about the stigma facing veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and said his institute this spring will publish the results of the most comprehensive study of post-9/11 veterans.

Bush said it’s important to help veterans translate their skills into civilian life.

“That’s not surprising — I mean you don’t see many job postings that say, ‘Wanted: experience hunting insurgents and terrorists, willing to risk life for coworkers,’ ” Bush said. “What’s a veteran supposed to put down? My last office was a Humvee?”

He touted an initiative spearheaded by his library that works to help veterans with their academic training.

“At the Bush Center we believe it’s never too late to learn a new skill,” Bush said. “Just ask Laura … a few years ago she didn’t think she was marrying an oil painter.” 

— Justin Sink contributed. 

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