Portraits of Courage, a Commander-in-Chief’s Tribute To America’s Warriors is on display at the Truman Library and Museum in Independence. The collection is the work of former President George W. Bush, who painted the faces and hearts of 98 service members and veterans he has come to personally know since leaving office in 2009.
Alex Burden, the executive director of the Truman Library Institute, said the exhibit includes 66 oil paintings as well as a mural of 98 service members and veterans.
“I think people will walk away from the Portraits of Courage exhibition with a newfound appreciation for American military personnel and veterans and what they do quietly without fanfare, without much celebration, to defend our country and defend democracy,” he said.
Each painting is accompanied by the story of the warrior depicted, written by the 43rd president himself. As the stories unfold, visitors will get to know the soldiers who answered the nation’s call and learn of the bravery displayed on the battlefield, the journey to recovery, and the continued leadership and contribution the warriors make as civilians.
The collection also includes information and resources for visitors to learn how to better support post-9/11 service members.
Burden said the exhibit might have been therapy for Bush.
“President Truman, one of the decisions that he really regretted and impacted him well beyond his time in the White House, was his decision to send U.S. forces into Korea, which cost thousands of American lives. It’s a very difficult decision that President Truman and President Bush and many other presidents have had to make,” said Burden.
Portraits of Courage has been featured on the TODAY Show, Jimmy Kimmel, Good Morning, America, and in USA Today, People and Time.
It is on display at the museum through the end of this year. With proof of military service, veterans and active duty members get free admission.
To hear the Show Me Today interview with Alex Burden, click below (14:54).
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