“My deepest conviction, the guiding principle of the administration, is that the United States of America must strive to expand the reach of freedom,” former President George W. Bush said in the dedication ceremony at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas April 25.
The former president (second from left) was joined by his successor, President Obama (far left), and three of his predecessors (from left), Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter. The current and former presidents spoke in praise of such things as George W. Bush’s leadership in the days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, his drive to deliver aid to the people of Africa and his efforts to reform the immigration system and raise educational standards.
The center will house vast archives of documents, records, artifacts and other materials from his presidency that lasted from 2001 to 2009.
“No matter how much you may think you’re ready to assume the office of the presidency, it’s impossible to truly understand the nature of the job until it’s yours, until you’re sitting at that desk,” Obama said.
“To know President George W. Bush is to like him,” he added.
The George W. Bush Presidential Center is the 13th presidential library or museum run by the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.
“Our collective mission is to promote a further understanding of the presidency and to promote access to historical materials to further engage the public in the study of the presidency,” said Susan Donius, director of the National Archives’ Office of Presidential Libraries.
In 2012, the presidential libraries and museums in the National Archives’ system drew more than 1.9 million visitors.