READ about Piers Morgan's long career in journalism here.
Editor's Note: Julie Zann, a "Piers Morgan Tonight" editorial producer, shares her behind the scenes insight and impressions of her time spent at the Warrior 100.
I’ve just returned from the W100k in the Texas panhandle, George W. Bush’s 2nd annual 100 kilometer mountain bike ride with 20 Wounded Warriors. As someone in this business for nearly 10 years, I admit that I often get jaded from working behind the scenes. The unfortunate reality is that in the modern age of news and politics, everybody’s getting a little more trained, a little more polished when it comes to dealing with the media; it makes getting authentic moments all the more difficult. So you can imagine my surprise this weekend when we were permitted to have truly intimate access to one of the most powerful men in the world, President George W. Bush.
Whatever you think of President Bush, this was a case to simply stand back to try to understand this man and what makes him tick. I can tell you honestly, American veterans light him up.
Two things were striking: his ability to blend in with any other Texas mountain biker – a unique little group if there ever was one – and his comfort and camaraderie with the wounded warriors. At dinner following the day’s ride, the warriors addressed the group, sharing their story and what the ride meant to them. It’s difficult to pluck one story from this group of wounded men because each is worthy of tears. There is was one veteran suffering severe PTSD who was bouncing in and out of counseling, had significant drinking and drug problems, and suicidal thoughts. Only two months ago, his closest fellow Marine, who had gotten him into counseling in the first place, killed himself. Rather than continue his spiral down, this young man was able to pull himself up, return to intense counseling, get involved in a biking charity for veterans, and concluded his address by telling President Bush that it’s been a month and a half since his last drink and the President’s sobriety has been a huge inspiration to him. President Bush bear-hugged him like a son as the rest of the room crumbled in tears. FULL POST