WASHINGTON, Nov. 18 (Xinhuanet) -- The William J. Clinton presidential library was inaugurated in Little Rock, the south central US state of Arkansas, on Thursday.
Three former US presidents, including Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush, and a sitting president, George W. Bush, were present at the ceremony.
With the inauguration of the Clinton presidential library, formally known as the William J. Clinton Presidential Center, there are altogether 13 presidential libraries in the United States to date.
The center, situated on an area of almost 30 acres and holding 76 million pages of documents, 2 million photographs and 75,000 museum artifacts, includes a library and museum, archives and a graduate school affiliated with the University of Arkansas, and will be operated by the National Archives and Records Administration.
"This presidential library chronicles a vivid era in American history for the benefit of future generations...The collections here record the dedication and hard work of thousands who brought talent and idealism to public service," said President George W. Bush.
Praising Clinton as "a tireless champion of peace in the MiddleEast," Bush said Clinton led the United States "with optimism and a great affection for the American people," and during his presidency, seized important opportunities on issues from welfare to free trade."
In his speech, Clinton called the 165 million US dollar library"the symbol of a bridge, a bridge to the 21st century." What he wanted to do in the rest of his life, he said, was "building bridges from yesterday to tomorrow, building bridges across racialand religious and ethnic and income and political divides."
Clinton, who served as president during 1993-2001, congratulating Bush for his successful reelection on Nov. 2. "I wish you Godspeed, especially in a new and more hopeful time for peace in the Middle East," he said.
Jimmy Carter, who served as president of the United States 1977-1981, said the presidential center was a wonderful gift to all Americans. "There is a special time that binds those of us together who have lived and served in the White House and then moved on to other things, retired either as required by the Constitution, or involuntarily as a result of elections," said Carter.
Terming Clinton as "one of the most gifted American political figures in modern times," former president George H.W. Bush said Clinton was a "natural," who "enjoyed debates too much for my taste" while he himself "hated debates," referring to his failed reelection campaign in 1992. Enditem