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Obama, Four Former Presidents Appear For Bush Library Ceremony

Former first lady Laura Bush, President Barack Obama, former President George W. Bush, former President Bill Clinton, former President George H.W. Bush, and former President Jimmy Carter (left to right) gathered for the April 25 ceremony in Dallas, Texas.
U.S. President Barack Obama has joined former President George W. Bush and all three other living former U.S. presidents in the city of Dallas, Texas, for the opening of Bush's presidential library and museum.

Former Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton attended the opening ceremony on April 25 while a crowd of several thousand people gathered outside the complex.

It was an event at which political battles were downplayed.

Obama described Bush as a "good man" and as a leader who demonstrated strength, resolve, and compassion.

"As we Americans may at times disagree on matters of foreign policy, we share a profound respect and reverence for the men and women of our military and the families, and we are united in our determination to comfort the families of the fallen and to care for those who wear the uniform of the United States," Obama said.

The complex, located on the grounds of the Southern Methodist University, also includes the 43rd president's policy institute.

The complex opens to the public on May 1.

It features exhibits about Bush's 2001-09 presidency and an interactive display that enables visitors to decide how they would have responded to the choices Bush faced.

Bush, who was in a jovial mood, said the United States must work to "expand the reach of freedom."

Tears welled in his eyes as he concluded, saying the country's best days were ahead.

"One of the benefits of freedom is that people can disagree," Bush said. "It's fair to say I created plenty of opportunities to exercise that right. (Laughter in the audience.) But when future generations come to this library and study this administration, they're going to find out that we stayed true to our convictions."

Several former and current world leaders also attended the opening, including former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Based on reporting by AP and dpa