Waving cardboard red, white and blue "W"s, thousands welcomed George W. Bush and his wife on Tuesday to their post-presidential home in Texas.
"The presidency was a joyous experience, but as great as it was, nothing compares with Texas at sunset," Bush said to cheers from the crowd of about 25,000 as former first lady Laura Bush stood at his side. "Tonight I have the privilege of saying six words that I have been waiting to say for a while - it is good to be home."
"It's a special day, but it's a sad day," said Dudley Winn, a cotton farmer who drove two hours from Lubbock to greet Bush on his first stop after leaving office. "He did the job we asked him to do. He kept our values safe."
As the crowd looked on, the jet carrying the Bushes flew over downtown, then landed at the airport in Midland shortly before 5 p.m.
While Bush was born in New Haven, Connecticut, he spent his childhood in Midland. He returned there as an adult in the 1970s and met the future first lady, who grew up there.