Enthusiastic crowd gathers to welcome Bush back

MIDLAND, Texas (AP) - "It is good to be home."

That's what former President George W. Bush today told thousands of people gathered in Midland to welcome him back to Texas.

Bush also described the presidency as a "joyous experience," but he says nothing compares with Texas at sunset.

Some of the 20,000 people on hand, during the late-in-the-day ceremony at Centennial Plaza, waved cardboard red, white and blue "W's."

One boy held a sign that read, "President Bush, thank you for keeping me safe."

Bush, who grew up in Midland, earlier today ended his two-term presidency as Barack Obama was sworn in as the nation's 44th president.

The Bushes planned to spend the night at their ranch in the Crawford area. They've also bought a home in Dallas.