Back in this country, five presidents, five first ladys at the opening of the george w. Bush presidential library. To protect them, the tightest security in the history of the city of dallas. Jonathan... See More
Back in this country, five presidents, five first ladys at the opening of the george w. Bush presidential library. To protect them, the tightest security in the history of the city of dallas. Jonathan karl on the day and the presidents who offered praise and a little dose of humor for each other. We saw some laughter and some tears. Reporter: A lot of history on one stage, five first ladys, five presidents. ♪ it was a tribute to the younger president brush, but also to his ailing 88-year-old father. It's a great pleasure to be here to honor our son, our oldest son. We're glad to be here. God bless america and thank you very much. good job. Too long? Dad taught me how to be a president. Before that, he showed me how to be a man. And 41, it is awesome that you are here today. Reporter: The dedication of a new presidential library is one of those rare moments where partisan politics ever s briefly melts away. What I know is true about president bush, and I hope my successor will say about me, is that we love this country and we do our best. Reporter: Even jimmy carter sang president bush's praises, citing his work in africa -- mr. President, let me say that I'm filled with admiration for you and deep gratitude for you about the great contributions you've made for the most needy people on earth. Reporter: His controversial vice president watched from the front row, no mention of the iraq war today, but bill clinton joked about the new passion president bush talked about with diane yesterday. Paintings, people have been looking at your feet in the bathtub. I seriously considered calling you and asking you to do a portrait of me. Those bathroom sketches were wonderful, but at my age, i think I should keep my suit. Reporter: Assessing his own legacy -- bush acknowledged he left office an unpopular president. But when future generations come to this library and study this administration, they're going to find out that we stayed true to our convictions. It wasn't always easy and it certainly wasn't always popular. Reporter: Theresident who took pride in his toughness was overcome with emotion as he ended his speech. I will always believe that our nation's best days lie ahead. God bless. Reporter: President bush said one of the benefits of freedom is that people are free to disagree. And he joked that during his presidency, he created plenty of opportunities for people to exercise that right.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.