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The five living presidents came together for the George W. Bush Presidential Library dedication ceremony in Dallas, Thursday (April 25). Putting their political differences aside, the presidents praised President Bush for his eight years in office.

Housed inside the George W. Bush Presidential Center, the library is the largest of its kind, featuring over 43,000 artifacts, 200 million emails, and 4 million digital photographs. Presidents, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, and a wheelchair-bound George H.W. Bush were all on hand for today’s ceremony, held on the Southern Methodist University campus.

As the successor to the Bush administration, Obama proved that there are no hard feelings between he and the Texas staple. “To know President George W. Bush is to like him,” Obama said during his speech.

Despite the many missteps tied to the Bush administration (i.e., the catastrophic handling of Hurricane Katrina, or the alleged voting scandal that got him in office), the 66-year-old was commended for his tenure as commander in chief, and made a lasting impression on the incoming president. “He knew I would come to learn what he had learned,” Obama added, detailing a letter that Bush wrote him at the start of his term in 2009. “Being president above all is a humbling job. There are moments when you make mistakes. There are times when you wish you could turn back the clock.”

Obama’s statements were among the more serious tones taken throughout the day, mirroring the sentiments offered by Clinton and Carter who congratulated Bush on feats, like working to stop the spread of AIDS in Africa.

Once Bush made his way to the podium, he opened with a light-hearted quip, before getting serious.“When our freedom came under attack, we made the tough decisions required to keep people safe,” he said referencing the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Standing in front of a crowd of more than 8,000 –including his former staffers– Bush reiterated his purpose for taking on the presidency. “In democracy, the purpose of public office is not to fulfill personal ambition,” he said. “Elected officials must serve a cause greater than themselves. The political winds blow left and right, polls rise and fall, supporters come and go. But in the end, leaders are defined by the convictions they held.”

See photos from the ceremony and library, below.

Photos: Alex Wong/AP/KSDK

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