DALLAS (AP) — The nation's five surviving presidents will gather Thursday for the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, a much-anticipated event expected to draw around 10,000 people to Southern Methodist University amid tight security from local and federal law enforcement.
The invitation-only ceremony was expected to include speeches by Bush, President Barack Obama and former Presidents Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush, Bush's father.
"It really is a day to give thanks," the younger Bush said in brief comments Wednesday before his presidential library and museum were handed over the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.
Protesters were expected to gather across the freeway from the Bush center during the dedication. Beginning Wednesday evening, city officials were closing some secondary streets near downtown Dallas and immediately around the Bush center.
Paul Maurer, assistant special agent in charge of the Dallas office of the Secret Service, declined to comment on specific security measures but said authorities were "comfortable with the plan we have in place."
"We've been planning this for a long time and we're confident we're in good shape," he said.
The George W. Bush Presidential Center, which will house the presidential library and museum along with the 43rd president's policy institute, will be dedicated in a ceremony Thursday morning. The center opens to the public on May 1.
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