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Air Force band performs at Clinton library opening

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- (From left) Barbara Bush, George H.W. Bush, Laura Bush, President George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter pose for the media after the William J. Clinton Presidential Library opening ceremonies.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Bob Oldham)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- (From left) Barbara Bush, George H.W. Bush, Laura Bush, President George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter pose for the media after the William J. Clinton Presidential Library opening ceremonies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Bob Oldham)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Tuba players Senior Airman Matt Kuebler (left) and Staff Sgt. David Hartung belt out a song at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library grand opening here Nov. 18.  They are assigned to the U.S. Air Force Band of Mid-America at Scott Air Force Base, Ill.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Bob Oldham)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Tuba players Senior Airman Matt Kuebler (left) and Staff Sgt. David Hartung belt out a song at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library grand opening here Nov. 18. They are assigned to the U.S. Air Force Band of Mid-America at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Bob Oldham)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Staff Sgt. Gayden Green, a Barksdale Air Force Base, La., security forces journeyman, keeps his partner, Dax, in line as people file in for the William J. Clinton Presidential Library grand opening here Nov. 18.  An estimated 30,000 people, including current President George W. Bush and former Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton attended the opening ceremonies.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Bob Oldham)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Staff Sgt. Gayden Green, a Barksdale Air Force Base, La., security forces journeyman, keeps his partner, Dax, in line as people file in for the William J. Clinton Presidential Library grand opening here Nov. 18. An estimated 30,000 people, including current President George W. Bush and former Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton attended the opening ceremonies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Bob Oldham)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Staff Sgt. Christine McGowan, a percussionist in the Air Force Band of Mid-America, waves to the crowd while trying to avoid the rain Nov. 18 at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library grand opening.  The rain did not stop the band's performance as it played patriotic music to entertain an estimated 30,000 visitors.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Bob Oldham)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Staff Sgt. Christine McGowan, a percussionist in the Air Force Band of Mid-America, waves to the crowd while trying to avoid the rain Nov. 18 at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library grand opening. The rain did not stop the band's performance as it played patriotic music to entertain an estimated 30,000 visitors. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Bob Oldham)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Rain, and a lot of it, could not dampen the spirits of Airmen assigned here to help make the William J. Clinton Presidential Library opening ceremonies Nov. 18 a success.

Active-duty Airmen from the Air Force Band of Mid-America assigned to Scott Air Force Base, Ill., kicked off the official grand opening attended by an estimated 30,000 people. About 200 Arkansas National Guard Airmen and Soldiers helped the Secret Service and local law enforcement officials secure the site, drive distinguished visitors and escort them to their seats.

“It’s definitely not something you get to do every day,” said 1st Lt. Patti Walters, a 189th Airlift Wing escort officer, who seated dignitaries on the stage.

Staff Sgt. Jamar Bennett, a security forces journeyman from the 189th Security Forces Squadron worked crowd control at the distinguished visitor entrance with Secret Service officials and city police.

The previous night, the band’s jazz ensemble played a four-hour set at a private party in the library for the former president and invited guests.

“Ted Danson came up to us and said we were one of the best bands he’s ever heard,” said 1st Lt. Leslie Brown, of the band.

A light morning rain began to dry up, and the clouds appeared to clear for a brief moment. As the band took its place on stage and began to warm up, the rain began to come; it was light at first, but, as the ceremony rolled on, the rain eventually turned into a downpour.

The library sits on a 30-acre tract along the south bank of the Arkansas River. The 20,000-square-foot museum contains artifacts and gifts, and highlights the former president’s accomplishments, complete with a replica of the Oval Office.

The library contains nearly 2 million photographs and more than 75 million pages of documents.

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