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George W. Bush releases rare video on coronavirus – watch it here

President George W. Bush delivers a speech at the Pentagon March 19, 2009 on progress being made in the war on terrorism. (DOD photo/R. D. Ward)
May 03, 2020

On Saturday the George W. Bush Presidential Center published a video calling on Americans to unite through the coronavirus fight.

The video, which was narrated by former president George W. Bush himself, compared the challenges faced by Americans during the coronavirus pandemic with those faced by Americans after the 9/11 terror attacks.

“This is a challenging and solemn time in the life of our nation and world,” Bush’s message begins. “A remorseless invisible enemy threatens the elderly and vulnerable among us. A disease the can quickly take breath and life.”

Bush said that while medical professionals are working to stop coronavirus and officials are putting together guidelines for bringing the country out of lockdown, however the disease’ impacts go beyond health and threaten the country’s sense of community.

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“The largest challenge we share is to confront an outbreak of fear and loneliness,” Bush continues. “And it is frustrating that many of the normal tools of compassion, a hug, a touch, can bring the opposite of the good we intend. In this case we serve our neighbor by separating from them. We cannot allow physical separation to become emotional isolation. This requires us not only to be compassionate, but creative in our outreach and people across the nation are using the tools of technology in the cause of solidarity.

In the video, Bush’s remarks provide a voice over for a montage healthcare workers, food supply workers and ordinary Americans working to combat the coronavirus.

“In this time of testing, we need to remember a few things. First, let us remember we have face times of testing before. Following 9/11, I saw a great nation rise as one to honor the brave, to grieve with the grieving and to embrace unavoidable new duties,” Bush recalls. “And I have no doubt, none at all, that this spirit of service and sacrifice is alive and well in America.”

“Second, let us remember that empathy and simple kindness are essential powerful tools of national recovery. Even at an appropriate social distance, we can find ways to be present in the lives of others, to ease their anxiety and share their burdens.”

“Third, let’s remember that the suffering we experience as a nation does not fall evenly. In the days to come it will be especially important to care in practical ways for the elderly, the ill and the unemployed,” Bush continued. “Finally, let us remember how small our differences are in the face of this shared threat. In the final analysis we are not partisan combatants, we are human beings, equally vulnerable and equally wonderful in the sight of god. We rise or fall together and we are determined to rise.”

The video has gone viral in the day since its release and had garnered more than 4.3 million views as of Sunday morning.

Bush’s remarks come as many states have assessed they have surpassed the curve of infections and are planning their gradual reopening, but also as more than 1.1 million people in the U.S. have been infected with coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus case map, and more than 66,000 have died with the virus.