DALLAS –– Finishing touches are being applied to the center that will honor the 43rd president of the United States. Thousands are expected to attend the April 25 dedication of a spectacular shrine on the campus of Southern Methodist University that will chronicle the presidency of George W. Bush.
But not everyone is excited about the affair.
"It's quite disturbing. It's quite disheartening to see this monument, this edifice here in Dallas, Texas," said Hadi Jawad, part of a group called The People’s Response, which is planning a week of protests to coincide with the library opening.
The group has been organizing on Facebook and on its website.
"I have skin in the game," said Jawaid, one of hundreds of expected protesters. " I am of Iraqi descent."
He and other demonstrators come from different backgrounds.
"I was in the United States Army from 2003 to 2008 and did two tours in Iraq," said Robert Bell.
He and others who oppose the center are brought together by a common enemy. They say it’s not the person, but rather his policies that trouble them.
Bell said he feels a need to demonstrate at the dedication. “We recognize the attempt to bring legitimacy to this administration, and we will not sit idly by as this veneer is cast unchallenged. We just cannot allow that to happen."
They have been protesting since the center's inception, mainly because of lingering anger over the Iraq war, which Jawad called "the unnecessary and unjustifiable, the immoral and illegal war that Bush and Cheney took us into”.
The Bush Center declined an on-camera comment. A spokeswoman told News 8 by phone that officials are strictly focused on celebrating President Bush's legacy, but that the center “supports folks' rights to protest peacefully and express their views.”
Freedom of speech will be protected; but there will be plenty of security on hand to make sure all in attendance for the dedication are safe.
Protesters said they have already been told they will not be allowed anywhere near the center. In fact, they have been told they will have to go to the opposite side of the Central Expressway to express their disapproval.
The museum welcomes the public on May 1, and will be open every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's. Admission ranges from $16 for adults to $10 for children 5-12.
The top price for a ticket to the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station is $7.