UNIVERSITY PARK — President Barack Obama and former presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton united Thursday morning to share memories and honor former President George W. Bush during the dedication ceremony for the George W. Bush Presdiential Center.
Touching on his work on immigration reform, efforts to secure peace in North and South Sudan and role after the 9/11 attacks, each president shared their thoughts on Bush's service from 2001 to 2009.
11:35a Three people arrested for trying to cross into a no-access area. Protesters received approval to gather on the east side of Central Expressway. According to police, the three arrested attempted to cross the bridge over Central towards the Bush Center. - Steve Stoler
11:17a Ceremony ends in prayer. - WFAA.com
11:11a U.S. Army Sgt. First Class Alvy R. Powell Jr. performs the "The Star-Spangled Banner." - WFAA.com
10:58a Former President George W. Bush speaks. "Oh happy day," he started. "Laura and I are so thrilled to have so many friends, I mean a lot of friends, here to celebrate this special day." He expressed his gratitude to President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, along with the three other former presidents, for attending the event. He also thanked his wife, family and all those who helped design and build the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. "Today marks a major milestone in a journey that started 20 years ago when I announced my campaign for governor of Texas," he said. "My deepest conviction, the guiding principle of the administration, is that the United States of America must strive to expand the reach of freedom," Bush said. "I believe that freedom is a gift from God and the hope of every human heart." He ended his speech voicing his faith in America. "I dedicate this library with unshakable faith in the future of our country," he said. And with a tremble in his voice, "Whatever challenges come before us, I will always believe our nation's best days lie ahead." - WFAA.com
10:42a President Barack Obama speaks. "This is a Texas-sized party," he said. "And that's worthy of what we're here to do today, honor the life and legacy of the 43rd president of the United States, George W. Bush." Obama spoke on the "special day" in which all the living presidents came together, the last time being just before Obama took office. "We've been called the "world's most exclusive club ... but the truth is our club is more like a support group." Obama said on the first day of his presidency he found a letter from W. Bush in his desk "that demonstrated [Bush's] compassion and his generosity" in his desk. "For he knew that I would come to learn what he learned - that being president, above all, is a humbling job. There are moments where you make mistakes; there are times where you wish you could turn back the clock. And what I know is true about President Bush, and what I hope my successor will say about me, is that we love this country and we do our best." He went on to touch on Bush's childhood and the man he became. "What President Clinton said is absolutely true, to know the man is to like the man because he is comfortable in his own skin. He knows who he is; he doesn't put on any pretenses. He takes his job seriously, but he doesn't take himself too serious. He is a good man." - WFAA.com
10:35a Former President Bill Clinton speaks. Congratulating Bush on his first grandchild, he joked, "Once again you got the better of me ... you beat me to be a grandfather." He went on to joke on his relationship with the Bush family, noting how he has been called the "Black Sheep" son. "My mother told me not to talk too long today, and Barbara, I will not let you down." Clinton spoke of the exhibit in which visitors can follow important moments of Bush's presidency and the decisions he made at those times. The displays allow visitors to make their own decisions on what they would have done during each of those moments. "We are here to celebrate a country we all love, a service we all rendered," he said. "And debate and difference is an important part of every free society. By asking us to join him in the decisions he made and inviting us to make different ones if we choose he has honored that deepest American tradition." - WFAA.com
10:33a Former President - and father of George W. Bush - George H.W. Bush speaks at the ceremony, standing from his wheelchair with a large grin on his face as the crowd applauds. "What a beautiful day in Dallas," he said. "It's a great pleasure to be here and honor our son." He thanked those that organized the event and center. "God bless America and thank you very much." "Too long?" he asked with a smile turning to his son and giving him a handshake. - WFAA.com
10:29a: Former President Jimmy Carter takes the stand to speak. "It reminds me of my favorite cartoon in the New Yorker Magazine; this little boy is looking up at his father and he says, 'Daddy, when I grow up I want to be a former president.' Well, four of us have already made that goal and one is still working on it," Carter said. He also talked about his work with Bush on the war in Sudan and the peace treaty that ultimately followed between the North and South Sudan. "George. W. Bush is responsible for that," he said. He also discussed his work on AIDS awareness in Africa. "So, Mr. President, let me say that I'm thrilled with admiration for you and deep gratitude for you about the great contribution you've made to the most neediest people on Earth. Thank you very much." - WFAA.com
10:25a The United States Army Chorus accompanied by The National Guard Band of the Gulf Coast perform "America the Beautiful." - WFAA.com
10:22a Former First Lady Laura Bush welcomes the crowd at the dedication ceremony. "The George W. Bush Presidential Center reflects George's role as the first president of the 21st century," she said. ""Like our new era, the building and its grounds are designed to be forward looking and they're green and sustainable. They celebrate the native environment of our home state of Texas." - WFAA.com
10:10a Dr. Condoleezza Rice speaks after the pledge of allegiance is given by Melissa Stockwell, a veteran who served in Iraq and is now a Paralympic swimmer. - WFAA.com
10:04a First lady Michelle Obama and former first ladies Hilary Clinton, Rosalynn Carter, Barbara Bush and Laura Bush are introduced. Afterwards, their husbands, presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush are announced. - WFAA.com
10:01a Wearing a cowboy hat, former Vice President Dick Cheney is announced among other guests. - WFAA.com
10a Welcoming guests, Donald L. Evans is the first speaker at the ceremony. Evans was appointed as the U.S. Secretary of Commerce by President George W. Bush. He resigned in 2005. He now serves as the chairman of the center. - WFAA.com
9:55a The ceremony begins with soprano singer Angela Turner Wilson singing "God Bless America." - WFAA.com
9:27a Take a video tour of the Bush Center with Jonathan Betz by clicking here.
9:25a President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton have arrived at the George W. Bush Presidential Center. - WFAA.com
9:24a Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan is among the protesters gathering near the site where the George W. Bush Presidential Center will be dedicated. She says she's protesting both Bush and his successor in the oval office. Sheehan famously camped out near Bush's Crawford, Texas, ranch to protest the war in Iraq. Eight years after her son died in Iraq, Sheehan says she still has a reason to protest. Sheehan feels that President Barack Obama has maintained much of Bush's national security strategy. - AP
9:09a Wearing black clothes and white masks, protesters are standing across from the George W. Bush Presidential Center. Phil Donahue was with the protesters, who held signs reading "deconstruct the lies" and "Afghanistan." "They are doing what they are allowed to do under the terms of the United States Constitution," Donahue said. "They believe in the framers. These are the patriots right here and I'm proud to join them." - Steve Stoler
9:01a It's been a "relatively calm day" so far, according to Steve Mace, the communications director for the City of University Park. He said authorities have mostly dealt with traffic concerns. - WFAA.com
8:54a More George W. Bush Presidential Center facts:
- The 14,000-square-foot permanent exhibit in the museum includes parts dedicated to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, the Florida recount and various other historical events.
- The Bush library is the 13th presidential library administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. It's the third presidential library in Texas. - AP
8:47a DART warns commuters of delays throughout the day Thursday. - WFAA.com
8:20a Thursday, WFAA's Jonathan Betz got an early look inside the George W. Bush Presidential Center. Among the items on display are statues of the "First Dogs" and the former president's childhood baseball collection. Click here to check out some of the images. - WFAA.com
8:10a Taking a seat before the dedication ceremony. - Ron Corning
8:08a Among those performing at the dedication are soprano singer Angela Turner Wilson, The United States Army Chorus accompanied by The National Guard Band of the Gulf Coast and Sgt. First Class Alvy R. Powell, Jr. of the United States Army. - WFAA.com
8:05a Protesters across from the George W. Bush Presidential Center. - Steve Stoler
8:01a Former President George H.W. Bush issued this statement on the opening of his son's library:
"Barbara and I couldn't be happier, or prouder, of George and Laura and their team for the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Center at SMU. It marks the advent of a critical milestone and resource that documents a crucial, historic period of time when our country was led with resolution, vigilance, and graciousness in the face of unprecedented challenges. There, future generations of students and researchers will learn the true, full story of those eight eventful years — and we look forward to joining George and Laura in Dallas to thank everyone who helped to make the Center a reality."
7:54a The dedication ceremony will include speeches by Dr. Condoleezza Rice, former First Lady Laura Bush, former presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, President Barack Obama and end with former President George W. Bush. - WFAA.com
7:22a Hundreds of attendees already arriving at The Bush Center's dedication ceremony. Cool morning but the sky appears to be clearing out making for a nice event. - Jason Whitely
7:13a A painting of President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair will be unveiled at the dedication. The painting was created by artist Mark Balma.
- Watch video of Gloria Campos and Ron Corning talk with Balma about the painting by clicking here.
7:01a Presidents Carter, Bush Sr., Clinton, & Obama all to deliver short speeches before George W. Bush speaks at the opening of his museum and library later this morning. - Jason Whitely
6:38a The following heads of state will be in attendance at the George W. Bush Presidential Center Dedication Ceremony.
- Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen (NATO)
- President Mikheil Saakashvilli and Mrs. Sandra E. Roelofs (Georgia)
- President Josè Marìa Aznar (Spain)
- Prime Minister and Mrs. Ehud Olmert (Israel)
- Prime Minister and Mrs. John Howard (Australia)
- President Lee Myung-bak and Mrs. Yoon-ok Kim (Korea)
- Prime Minister Tony Blair and Mrs. Cherie Blair (United Kingdom)
- President John Kufuor (Ghana)
- President Francisco Flores Perèz and Mrs. Lourdes Maria Rodriguez de Flores (El Salvador)
- Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (Italy) - @TheBushCenter
6:21a With the opening of The Bush Center, Texas will have three presidential libraries - more than any other state. LBJ's is in Austin and George H.W. Bush's is in College Station. - Jason Whitely
6:01a Some George W. Bush Presidential Center facts:
- The about 226,000-square-foot center is located on 23 acres.
- The grounds include a 15-acre urban park that recreates a Texas prairie.
- The library and museum holds more than 70 million pages of paper records, 43,000 artifacts, 200 million emails and 4 million digital photographs. It's the largest holding of digital records of any presidential library. - AP
5:58a Took almost an hour to get through security at SMU. Long line of reporters from across Texas and around the world. Caterers also lined up to get in with the media when Secret Service opened the screening stations. This is an unprecedented event for Dallas and North Texas to have five presidents in the city for the library dedication. About the only movement in front of the Bush Library right now are media setting up for morning newscasts and Secret Service and police on patrol. No dignitaries, attendees, spectators or protesters yet. - Jason Whitely
5:49a There are a lot of road closures today hours before the dedication and after. Check out more details and a map here. - WFAA.com
5:41a The George W. Bush Center is lit up with lights as crews ready the stage for the opening ceremony. The dedication starts at 10 a.m. - WFAA.com