updated 5/28/2009 9:38:19 PM ET 2009-05-29T01:38:19

Former President George W. Bush says what he misses most since leaving the White House is the inspiration he drew from his encounters with U.S. military personnel.

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He spoke Thursday night before hundreds of people at Lake Michigan College in one of his first speeches since leaving office.

Bush touched on an array of subjects, ranging from the war in Iraq to the economic downturn to his return to life as a regular citizen.

He spoke for about 30 minutes and then took audience questions for nearly an hour.

Bush spoke before members of The Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan. They gave him a long, warm welcome when he arrived.

About eight people protesting Bush's appearance protested outside.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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