UNIVERSITY PARK -- With one toss of a dirt-filled shovel, former President George. W. Bush signaled Tuesday that the work is under way on his presidential library complex.
After about an hour of speeches, Bush -- surrounded by his wife, Laura, and other dignitaries -- officially broke ground on the George W. Bush Presidential Center at Southern Methodist University.
"It's hard to believe there's this much excitement about turning dirt," Bush told a crowd of about 3,000 under a large white tent.
The center, which includes a library, museum and policy institute, is scheduled to open in 2013. After thanking all those involved with it, Bush talked briefly about how life has changed since he left the White House in 2009.
"I really don't miss much about Washington, but I do miss being your commander-in-chief," he said.
Bush said he's staying out of politics, but not out of public policy. This center and his new institute will focus on issues such as education, healthcare and women's issues.
"This is the beginning of a process," he said. "It's the continuation of a journey that began over a decade ago."
Tuesday's "Breaking New Ground" ceremony honored soldiers from Fort Hood and featured a prayer by the Rev. Mark Craig of Highland Park United Methodist Church. It also reunited the old guard that surrounded Bush in Washington, D.C.
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