Reporting Steve Pickett
DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – For Larry and Yolanda Touchon of Amarillo, the George W. Bush Presidential Library placed second on their list of places to visit. Vegas ranked first. They got married there ten days ago, and the Bush Presidential Center public opening became the perfect honeymoon spot.
“Oh, he’s been planning it for a long time!” said Yolanda.
“It’s really exciting!” said Larry. “George was such a great president, and he held the country together so strong. And I just wanted to come see it. So we decided this would be good for us.”
By noon on opening day, more than 600 others joined the Touchons as the first members of the public to see the Presidential Center. Visitors could relive the Former President Bush’s response to the September 11th terror attacks, the historic controversy that surrounded his election in 2000, and the global war on terror launched during his administration.
Rosemary Velasquez of Midlothian said would split her time between the replica Oval Office and the galleries that document Mr. Bush’s time in office, calling it one of the greatest days of her life.
“I think it’s beautiful. I shed tears already, which is why i wore only partial makeup,” she said.
The highlight of the first public day for the Bush Center happened before the masses were let in. Forty three students from Barbara Bush Middle School stood shoulder to shoulder inside the replica oval office, when a surprise guest arrived. Former President Bush himself shook hands and took photos with the children.
“There are kids at our school who are going to Washington, for a trip this week,” said student Audrey Given after the surprise visit. “I said, ‘I don’t need to go to Washington D.C., I’m here with the President, or former President.”
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