Bush: “It is good to be home”

George W. Bush boarded a helicopter on Tuesday at the Capitol and began his life as a private citizen.

bush returns home

About 20,000 people in Midland, Texas cheered after Bush got off the plane and told them he was glad to be home for good.

“The presidency was a joyous experience, but as great as it was, nothing compares with Texas at sunset,” Bush said, standing next to his wife. “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.”

Among those in the crowd, The Associated Press reports, was one little boy waving a multicolored sign reading, “President Bush, thank you for keeping me safe.”

“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.”

After the Midland rally, the former president and his wife flew to Waco where about 3,000 friends and supporters greeted them at the airfield.

From Waco, the Bushes were headed to their 1,600-acre ranch in nearby Crawford where Bush said he would look in the mirror and “be proud of what I see.”