For combating terrorism and resolving to keep America strong in the face of global threats, the nation's 43rd commander in chief received The American Legion's Distinguished Service Medal in 2008.

National Commander Marty Conatser praised the 43rd commander in chief for staying firm in his convictions. "Despite relentless criticism by the media and by some in Congress, our president remained committed to taking the war to the terrorists," Conatser said. "He restructured the federal government by creating the Department of Homeland Security. He led the effort to overthrow the barbaric Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Despite enormous pressure, he refused to cut and run in Iraq, and the world is seeing the successful results of last year's military surge."

In a videotaped address to Legionnaires, Bush remarked, "Members of The American Legion have worn our nation's uniform during times of war, so you understand the sacrifices our troops are making in today's war on terror."

He continued, "My administration shares your determination to stand behind our nation's veterans. Since I took office, we have nearly doubled funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs, we have improved the quality of medical care that our veterans receive, and we're working to ensure that veterans returning from the battlefield have the resources and support they need to transition back into civilian life."

After serving as the governor of Texas from 1995 to 2000, Bush was elected to the White House in 2000 and 2004. His presidency was forever marked by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, which killed nearly 3,000 people. He declared a war on terrorism, sending U.S. forces to Afghanistan and Iraq.

A graduate of Yale and Harvard Business School, Bush worked in his family's oil business and formed a partnership to buy the Texas Rangers baseball franchise. He served as a pilot in the Texas National Guard.

Since leaving the White House, Bush and his wife, Laura, settled in Texas.

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