DALLAS (AP) - Flag-waving supporters left flowers and patriotic red, white and blue balloons outside the Dallas home of former President George W. Bush Monday in the hours that followed the U.S.-led mission that killed Osama bin Laden.
"Thank you President Bush," said a sign left on the gate outside the street leading to the secluded Bush residence.
About a dozen people gathered near his security-tight residence until a thunderstorm rolled into the area early Monday.
Bush, who was home when he learned of bin Laden's death late Sunday, released a statement congratulating President Barack Obama and praising the U.S. military personnel involved in the operation in northern Pakistan. Bush was in power on 9/11 when terrorists commandeered four commercial jets, crashing them in New York City, Washington D.C. and in Pennsylvania, killing nearly 3,000 people.
The president in October 2001 sent U.S. forces on the offensive against al-Qaida and Taliban in Afghanistan.
"This momentous achievement marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001," said Bush, in a statement Sunday night, after Obama called to inform the nation's 43rd president of the terrorist leader's death. "The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done."
Bush spokesman David Sherzer said Monday that the ex-president does not plan any additional statement.
A spokesperson for Bush's father, the 41st president, George H.W. Bush of Houston, did not immediately return a call for comment Monday.
The goal of getting bin Laden has been achieved, said U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.
"That mission has now been accomplished through the patience and steadfast determination of our military, our intelligence officials, and the united leadership of Presidents Bush and Obama," she said. "Now we must continue to dismantle this and other terrorist networks that attempt to destroy freedom and human rights throughout the world."
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said justice has finally been served.
"Let this serve as a grave reminder to all those who wish to do our nation harm: If you murder Americans, you will be hunted, you will be found and you will be brought to justice," Cornyn said in a statement. "I commend the military and intelligence professionals whose tremendous efforts ended the reign of this terrorist mastermind."
Texas Attorney General Gregg Abbott says American justice will forever prevail.
"The face of evil has been eradicated thanks to American forces' dogged pursuit of justice," said Abbott.
(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
for more features.