Bush: Veterans Give Americans a Reason to Be Optimistic

NBC sports reporter: 'We are going through some challenging times in this country right now'

Former President George W. Bush told viewers of Sunday night's NFL game in Philadelphia to look to veterans as a reason to be optimistic about the nation's future.

Bush flipped the coin before the NFC East matchup between the Eagles and Dallas Cowboys and spoke to NBC's Michele Tafoya afterward, alongside former First Lady Laura Bush and three decorated American veterans. Sunday not only marked Veterans Day but also the 100-year anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I.

"We're fortunate to have people willing to volunteer to serve our country. These three vets right here are tremendous leaders, and we love them," Bush said.

Before the national anthem, a moment of silence was held at Lincoln Financial Field for the victims of recent mass shootings in Pennsylvania and California. With that sober background, along with the continuing devastating fires in California, Tafoya said "we are going through some challenging times in this country right now."

"In your mind, why should Americans be optimistic?" she asked.

"Americans ought to be optimistic because all they got to look at is our veterans," Bush said. "Veterans Day is a day to renew optimism. We're a unique nation and producing great citizens."

Bush also took time to needle NBC Sunday Night Football announcers Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth, telling them they weren't very good golfers.

Michaels mentioned Bush's paintings of veterans' portraits since he left office, which he started doing as a pastime. He released a book of them in 2017.

"Tremendous guy. We appreciate the fact that he was spending some time with us here," Collinsworth said. "It's a special tribute to those veterans. I got to tell you, sometimes you hear the word warrior about football players. We're not warriors. Those guys are."