George W. Bush's (High School) Reunion, in Photos

The Atlantic

The dedication of George W. Bush's presidential library was like "a high school reunion you actually want to attend," said an anonymous Dallas attendee, according to Politico's Mike Allen. If you look at the photos from Thursday's festivities, you can see old colleagues getting together to laugh—and to appraise who's done well since graduation, or who's fallen into disrepute. As is so often the case in small towns, the big man on campus, Bush himself, has perhaps fallen furthest. Attempts to burnish his reputation echo what you hear about the once-promising youth, that he was a really nice guy. Here are some photos of the fun that, we think, get to the heart of the emotions on display.

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Some of the most interesting photos show Bush's awareness that he is being appraised in some grand way.

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(Photo via Reuters.)

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(Photo via Reuters.)

(Photo via Reuters.)

Here are George H. W. Bush and his son, who has certainly seen his dad's own presidential library. What was running through their minds at this moment?

(Photo via Reuters.)

Bush teared up during his speech, as this photo tweeted by The Huffington Post shows, and he teared up after his speech, as you can see at top. (There's video, too.)

Others were not so caught up with emotion after reflecting upon their life's work. Dick Cheney played it cool. With old age, you get the face you deserve. Unless you're the former vice president, who appears to be aging backwards. At left, Cheney at the Bush library on Thursday; at right, Cheney in 2007.

(Photo via Associated Press​.)

Other attendees chatted with alums. Here we see Barbara Bush's admirable willpower to not laugh at her own jokes.

(Photo via Associated Press.)

Cheney shakes former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's hand as Jenna Bush Hager watches the event.

(Photo via Associated Press.)

Bill Clinton joked that he liked Bush's paintings so much he was thinking about commissioning Bush to do his portrait. He nixed that idea after Bush's emails were hacked, he said, and saw so many paintings in the shower.

All the living presidents together.

(Photo via Associated Press.)

Former White House press secretary Dana Perino tweets this photo of herself with Karl Rove. Note Rove's "W" pin.

All the first ladies lined up. Note that their fashion choices reflect which decade they were in power. I remember on some fashion makeover show, one of the mean makeover-ers said that when women stick with dated looks, like 80s pouf hair, it's because that was a time when they felt really great. Here you can see Rosalynn Carter in a kinda-70s neutral pantsuit with a silky scarf, Barbara Bush in 80s jewel-toned scarf and huge pearls, HIllary Clinton in an Asian-inspired 90sh-ish jacket, and Laura Bush in a shift with some 2000s-ish draping at the neckline.

(Photo via Reuters.)

George H. W. Bush wore bright pink socks.

(Photo via Associated Press.)

As with any class reunion, knickknacks from the glory days were on display. Here are Bush's cowboy boots, reminding us of his time as a managing partner of a baseball team. They're on display at the library.

(Photo via Associated Press.)

Here is the bullhorn Bush spoke out of after 9/11, saying "I can hear you" and "the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon."

(Photo via Associated Press.)

A section on Hurricane Katrina titled "CRISIS MANAGEMENT." 

(Photo via Associated Press.)

And here are bracelets with the names of captured or killed troops in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

(Photo via Associated Press.)

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