By Eugene Kane Senior Writer and Columnist Published Apr 26, 2013 at 1:05 PM

For some, it was like seeing a living version of Mt. Rushmore.

No doubt, it was  a great picture of five living U.S. presidents who showed up at the dedication for the George W. Bush presidential library Thursday, reportedly the first such photo taken since 2009.

It's even more remarkable if you're someone – like me – who has actually voted for or against all of men who have held the office during my adult years.

Most of them I liked. 

Five presidents, four white males and one African-American. No women, obviously. Lots of history and important events connected to each of their administrations.

Living in the United States means at some point, the president might not have been someone you agreed with in terms of policy or philosophy. President George W. Bush was particularly divisive for some people due to the mistaken belief about WMD that led us into a false war with Iraq and what some felt was a flawed response to Hurricane Katrina.

What can't be disputed is that Bush did step up to lead the nation in the confusing days after Sept. 11, 2001 when many Americans looked to the president for comfort and guidance.

Immediately afterward, Bush filled the bill. Of course, a year or so later came the attack on a country that really had nothing to do with 9/11 even though Bush's administration never attempted to clarify that to most Americans.

At his library dedication, Bush said that he didn't feel the need to apologize for any of his actions as president and that "history will ultimately be the judge".

I think that's true. But many speakers also pointed out that Bush deserves much credit for his actions to fight AIDS in Africa, including increasing the amount of government funding to stem the tide on that troubled continent.

So he did get some things right.

Former presidents Clinton, Bush, and Bush Sr. were at all at the dedication along with President Obama, who made sure to call the man he replaced as Chief Executive "a good man."

The general positive tone of the affair was in start contrast to the undercover reality that most political observers acknowledge: Despite the genial behavior and excessive praise, Clinton, Obama and Carter have had stern words about George W. Bush's two term stint as president.

Clinton and Carter have been known to have a frosty relationship and Clinton and Obama weren't tight buddies until Hillary's husband delivered a boffo speech at the 2012 Democratic convention that pretty much sealed things for Obama.

Clinton has become fast friends with G.W. Bush to the point he joked about being "the black sheep of the Bush family" during the library dedication. Even Barbara Bush laughed.

No matter their previous differences, five living U.S. presidents in the same place is always a great picture and a reminder  that in this country, "regime change" comes peacefully through elections and not through violence.

It also showed the bond that former presidents have after sitting in the hottest seat in America and probably the world.

They all know it's a tough job. That's  probably why it's easy to forget past grievances when it's time to be polite and let a former president have his moment in the sun whether you think he deserved it or not. 

Eugene Kane Senior Writer and Columnist

Eugene Kane is veteran Milwaukee journalist and nationally award winning columnist.

Kane writes about a variety of important issues in Milwaukee and society that impact residents of all backgrounds.